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Pattonville Officials: District Could Run Out of Cash in Five Years

Pattonville School District officials expect to run out of cash in five years if the school board doesn't act on balancing the district's budget. The board will meet tonight for a special work session.

The Pattonville School District will run out of cash in five years if school officials don't act on an increasingly grim budget scenario. 

According to district documents, the economic downturn has lasted much longer than Pattonville officials anticipated. For that reason, school board members are expected to meet Tuesday for a special work session focused on balancing the district's budget.

"Expense reductions alone will not be able to address the shortfall without a significant impact on how we educate students, and the quality of their education," a presentation made to the board earlier this month states.

Without change in budget structure, the district would be $5 million in debt in just three to four years.

Now, salaries make up more than two-thirds of the district budget. Since 1997, more than 160 positions have been eliminated, an effort that has saved the district $23 million.

But that hasn't made a big enough difference in combating the $17.2 million in reductions the district has faced over the last ten years.

On the agenda for tonight will likely be staffing efficiencies, although it's not clear where those efficincies would be found. Building use and transportation, according to a district presentation, could also be areas for cost cutting.

For more on this story, check back with Patch tomorrow on what the board discussed at its special work session. 

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