District spokesman Andy Welch said the matter came up at a budget work session last week, and dropout task force member (and former board member) Melissa Knippa spoke in support of the program. Forgione reiterated that he "had no desire to eliminate any of the new programs, but that he felt obligated to put them on the table to see how much money could be generated for teacher pay raises." Welch says the district remains hopeful that when property appraisals are finalized in July there will be sufficient money to cover the need. "It will be real difficult to do even a 2% raise," Welch said, "if the property values aren't there to support it." Welch repeated that neither the administration nor the board wants to cut the dropout prevention program, "but there must be a pay raise for teachers, and it will have to come from somewhere. [The dropout program] is still on the table" he concluded, "but to cut it would be real painful."
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