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Dorset - Share your surpluses, urge school leaders

Fewer Dorset schools have budget deficits at the end of this academic year, but heads say there is still work to be done to share funding equally around the county.

Members of the county's Schools Forum said there were still primaries and secondaries with excess surpluses, although these heads are planning to spend the cash this year.

At the end of this school year, there were 28 schools in deficit compared with 36 at the end of 2007-08. Surpluses had reduced from Pounds 8.5 million in 2007-08 to Pounds 7.7m in 2008-09.

Heads said they faced difficult financial decisions in the coming year. They predict a budget deficit of Pounds 558,000 for 2010-11, rising to almost Pounds 3.6 million in 2011-12, although this is a "worst case scenario".

The council will now "run a critical eye" over the work of officers supporting schools to get out of deficit. It is also developing web-based resources, including tools to help them produce financial flow charts and "top tips" for cutting costs.

Surpluses worth around Pounds 150,000 were clawed back from Dorset schools in 2007-08 and used to assist those in deficit. KM.

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