The Ashland School Board agreed this week to cut $1.1 million from the district's general-fund budget for next academic year, due to a state funding shortfall.

The Ashland School Board agreed this week to cut $1.1 million from the district's general-fund budget for next academic year, due to a state funding shortfall.

The board approved a $24.8 million general-fund budget, voting 4-0 on Monday to reduce spending on textbooks, defer maintenance projects and not hire three kindergarten teachers it had planned to.

"One thing that we feel good about is that we were able to respond to the shortfall in revenue without laying anyone off and we still, at this point, have a full school year next year," Superintendent Juli Di Chiro said Friday.

Last month, administrators said they planned to cut $700,000 from the general-fund budget and use $600,000 from the district's savings to cover the $1.1 million gap in state funding due to tax-revenue shortfalls.

But this month, district officials discovered it would be possible to cut the entire $1.1 million from the budget, Di Chiro said.

"When we first looked at it, we thought, we don't know if we can find that level of savings," she said. "In going through, we were able to identify the $1.1 million."

That leaves nearly $1.5 million in the district's savings, which could be important during the following academic year, because state funding could plummet again, Di Chiro said.

This month the district realized it had about $500,000 extra in its health insurance and retirement funds, after recalculating the amounts to more accurately reflect employees, she said.

The rest of the $1.1 million came from reducing spending on textbooks, technology, school supplies and maintenance, as well as declining to hire the three kindergarten teachers.

Not hiring the teachers saved the district about $210,000. The district gained about $86,000 by cutting spending on school supplies by 10 percent across the board and 15 percent in specific areas. Spending on textbooks was reduced by $10,000.

Deferring some maintenance projects saved the district about $60,000.

The district also used about $175,000 left over from the academic year that just ended toward the budget, said School Board member Carol Davis.

"I feel really fortunate that we're not having to lay anybody off or cut anybody's hours back," she said. "We were lucky because we had other places we could cut."

Contact staff writer Hannah Guzik at 482-3456 ext. 226 or hguzik@dailytidings.com.