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District 2155 looking at $1.2 million in lost revenue

Superintendent Virginia Dahlstrom gave the Wadena-Deer Creek school board a "heads up" at their May meeting.

"We're down about $1.2 million in revenue," Dahlstrom told the board. "We have taken a drop in our revenue."

Dahlstrom told the board the district has also lost $100,000 in compensatory aid from the state for its free and reduced lunches program and $30,000 to cover third party billing for special education.

Additionally, Dahlstrom pointed out that the figures she gave the board Monday night are not exact. Business Manager Nancy Ramler is working on exact figures for the board's June meeting. A preliminary budget must be submitted to the state in July.

Dahlstrom also said that during the past two years, the district has lost about 70 students due to a declining population. State aid is based on student population, and school districts are expected to make adjustments for the revenue losses immediately.

"I always have a board member that looks at me and says 'can we afford this?'" Dahlstom said. "We know that we're down, we've been gradually coming down to pretty much a flat number of students, and we're pretty much there."

During the 2011-2012 school year, District 2155 operated on a general fund of just under $10 million, Dahlstrom said.

There will be 70 seniors graduating from WDC this year, making it one of the smallest graduating classes in recent years, according to WDC Secondary Principal Tyler Church.

It is not just the district school population that has dropped.

"In the past we've had more migrant workers and more foreign exchange students," Dahlstrom said.

Projections for the 2012-2013 school year place the district's student population at 963.