In many area school districts, a need for painful financial cuts

Gayle Worland:

When the Stoughton Area School District shuttered its Yahara Elementary School last June because of declining enrollments, shrinking funds and a failed school referendum in 2005-06, the total $1 million cost savings was meant to help balance the district’s books into the next decade.
But despite that move, plus 68 staff layoffs and reduced bus routes in recent years, the district now faces another gap — of $3 million over the next three years — and the school board is considering taking a referendum to voters in April.
“The sense was that we would be okay for the 2010-11 school year,” former Yahara principal Cheryl Price, now principal of the new Sandhill Elementary School, said of Yahara’s closing. “They knew that this was one fix. But we thought we had a couple of years” without having to make more drastic cuts.
Those cuts could range from more staff reductions, increasing class sizes, raising athletic fees and eliminating talented and gifted programming.

Related: K-12 Tax & Spending Climate.