The Webster Groves School District spends approximately $11,000 on each student in a given year, according to Diane Moore, chief financial officer for the Webster Groves School District.
The amount is likely to drop next year, she said.
"We already get pretty minimal state funding as it is," Moore said. "Any reduction in our state funds would be harmful to us."
As the Missouri legislature begins its next session amid a $500 million deficit, public education will be one of the first areas cut by the state.
"Education is one of the highest funded mandates in the state, so it tends to take a beating in tough times," Moore said.
The chief financial officer projects a 5 percent reduction in the budget for next year, although the number is only an estimate.
"It's hard to know where the budget will be by next year, but we start looking at it in the spring, as things begin to develop." Board of Education President Michael Kearney said."
One of the keys to reducing the budget without sacrificing the quality of education is to make programs self-sustaining, Moore said. "If it's not state-mandated, we try to make it self-sustain,” she added.
But nothing can replace a good relationship with your local representatives. Webster Groves School District Superintendent Sarah Riss believes that the district’s recently established Legislative Advocacy Committee is the ideal way to reach out to state lawmakers.
"The committee is composed of leaders in the school district community," Riss said. "Not just parents or teachers, but regular citizens, some that don't even have children in the school."
The committee encourages local politicians to attend meetings, with its prime goal being to communicate the needs of the district and the community to representatives in Jefferson City.
"Oh, I've gotten calls from the floor during a vote before," Riss said. "Sen. Eric Schmitt (R-District 15) and Rep. Jeanne Kirkton (D-District 091) have done a fantastic job of listening to our needs and taking (our input) back to Jefferson city with them."
Kearney emphasized the need for what he called responsible, accountable management on the part of the board of education.
"We've got a big responsibility to this district and this community," Kearney said. "We want to make sure we are getting the best education value for our dollar."
The Board of Education will meet Monday at 7 p.m. in the district administrative building.