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Across U.S., schools feel budget pinch

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California, Arizona, and Florida are among the hardest hit (down 21 percent, 18 percent, and 11 percent, respectively). Conditions could worsen, the National Governors Association predicts, since states tend to feel the pinch for a while after economic recovery begins. For some areas, the declining housing market will bite into local revenues as well.

Like the downturn of the early 1990s and the period following the 9/11 attacks, "it's going to be a very lean couple years," says Paul Houston, executive director of the American Association of School Administrators in Arlington, Va. "As a superintendent, you're trying to figure out, 'Where are the edges? Where can I do this [cutting] that's going to have the least impact?' "

With fuel costs, a four-day week?

Miami-Dade County Public Schools are taking measures to cut $284 million, about 10 percent of their current budget, says spokesman John Schuster. Health insurance costs are going up about $36 million, electricity $16 million, and bus fuel nearly tripled to a projected $16 million for next year. Funding from the state dropped by $69 million.

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