Public school districts are pinching pennies as budget talks take over school board meetings.
Kearney Public Schools had their meeting tonight and they approved a $72 million dollar budget. Which is 5.5% less than last year.
KPS is getting an increase from state aid of just over a million dollars, but federal aid is being cut leaving school officials a mixed bag of news regarding the shrinking budget.
The amount of aid per student rose for the first time in five years.
But it's not enough...so they will still have to dip into their cash reserve resulting in an inconsistent amount of money going towards public schools.
Officials say the state aid formula needs to be re-vamped.
"The actual amount of money that we receive per student...we've had four straight years where we received less money per student and so while we were growing it was being off set with receiving less money per state aid...for a growing school district like us, these decreases in funding per student really off-sets our growth," said Chris Nelson, KPS director of finance.
This leaves KPS officials hoping that the next session in the Nebraska legislature will provide more funding.
"When your really reliant on state aid like we are you hope that every year maybe there's some relief legislatively and we'll certainly lobby for that," said Brian Maher, KPS superintendent.
With cuts to programs like Title 1, which add funds to low-income schools to help academic achievement, this complicates budgets as well.
The preliminary enrollment numbers are out and this will be the highest number of students ever at KPS, if they hold steady...it's 5,161 kids.
The official number will be out in the next meeting.