As the 2010-2011 school year draws to a close we continue to make great progress. Through your hard work and dedication the graduation rate continues to rise and the dropout rate continues to fall. With new facilities, greater academic options, and more families joining our school system, we are seeing a rebirth of public education in Chatham County. And while our focus remains strong, ensuring that all students are learning at high levels, we are continually being asked to do more with less.
The next school year is no different. We are facing budgetary challenges for the 2011-2012 school year. While some indicators show our nation's economy is on the rise, the impact of the economic downturn is still being felt throughout many school districts. Based on the best information available at this time, we are anticipating significant decreases in both our state and local revenues for the next school year. As we work to develop an operating budget, the expected decrease in revenue could create a shortfall by as much as 12 million dollars. We are hopeful that the final tax digest due at the end of May will provide a better than anticipated tax revenue; however, even if gains are captured in this area, it will not be enough to bridge the gap in the necessary operating budget. It is apparent that additional cost saving measures will be needed.
We are working diligently to finalize our plans in a way that will allow the operating budget to best support the growth of our academic efforts and the success of our students. Among the cost saving measures being considered, the most prevalent options include a class size increase and the use of modified work days. Based on our latest planning estimates, we may need to reduce the number of personnel positions by as many as 100 positions for next year. In addition, it may also be necessary to implement unpaid modification days by three or more days. I anticipate much discussion and debate as we navigate these challenging times. Ultimately, we will be faced with some very difficult decisions.
I am grateful for your commitment to the Savannah-Chatham County Public School System and the educational needs of our students. I am proud of what we have accomplished; and I am confident that together, even in the most trying financial times, we can achieve continued success. Each and every one of you play an important role in this school district, your untiring efforts are to be commended. Thank you for your ongoing support as we work collectively to best serve the educational needs of all of our students.