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Administrators with the Central Consolidated School District say an increase in federal impact aid will help the district cope with a drop in state funding for the 2016-2017 school year

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SHIPROCK — Officials expect an increase in federal funds will help the Central Consolidated School District offset a loss of state funding in the district's budget for the upcoming school year.

Board members on Tuesday approved a proposed budget of about $64.2 million for the 2016-2017 school year, an increase of about $1 million from the $63.2 million budget for the current school year, said district Business Manager Herbie Clichee.

For the upcoming year, state funds provided to the district will drop about $2.2 million while federal impact aid will increase about $1.7 million, according to Clichee’s presentation to the school board.

CCSD receives federal funds to compensate the district for not receiving property tax revenue from schools operating on Navajo Nation land.

A projected deficit of more than $300,000 in CCSD's budget will be covered by the district’s current cash balance of about $10.9 million.

The district projects its expenses in the upcoming school year will be about $812,000 more than the current year. The proposed budget also includes about $1.1 million in cuts and savings.

Clichee said interim Superintendent Colleen Bowman instructed the finance department to be conservative when preparing the budget because of concerns about a possible loss in funding from the state.

"We recognize all those different factors, and we continue to be conservative in terms of what we spend," Clichee said in an interview Wednesday.

An increase of about 8 percent in health insurance benefits will add about $250,000 in expenses to next year’s proposed budget. Also, about $535,000 has been set aside for salary adjustments.

Bowman also instructed each school and department in the district to cut 2 percent of its expenses for the upcoming school year. That is projected to save the district about $409,000. In the finance department, for example, training and supply costs were reduced, Clichee said.

Additional savings include about $365,000 that was budgeted for the current school year but was not spent. About $293,000 will also be saved from decreases in insurance premiums.

Making efforts to reduce expenses has helped the district avoid laying off staff, Bowman said.

"We’re not going to eliminate jobs," Bowman said. "People will have employment."

Joshua Kellogg covers education for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627.

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