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Woonsocket prepares deficit reduction plan

January 24, 2012

Woonsocket school officials are working on a plan to close a $3 million deficit. Superintendent Giovanna Donoyan says her staff is combing through the books looking for ways to cut costs.

“I’ve asked all of my directors to take a look at all programs and take a look at the efficiency of all programs,” Donoyan said. “We need to tighten our belt, I realize that.”

Donoyan says she will have a deficit reduction plan ready for state officials by next week, but she says finding the savings will not be easy.

“In the year 2000, Woonsocket had a $75 million school budget. Now it’s down to $59 million,” said Donoyan, adding that the decrease comes as expenses for everything from heating oil to personel continue to rise. “The costs across the board have escalated just to keep the bare minimum. The things we can control, we do our best to control, but there are uncontrollable costs.”

Woonsocket city officials have expressed disappointment over a history of school deficits which contributed to a downgrade from Moody’s investor service early this year. The city has sent a finance officer to work with the school department on a budget review.

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