Little Rock School District superintendent Linda Watson told trustees last week that they needed to cut $8 million to $10 million from the fiscal 2010 budget by closing a school, eliminating teacher and counselor positions, and offering employees incentives to retire early.

Watson also suggested reducing the pay of administrators and principals by cutting 10 work days from the calendar, eliminating 12 assistant principal positions, and charging some families tuition for a pre-kindergarten program.

The district — the largest in Arkansas with almost 26,000 students and more than 4,000 employees — expects to see its state aid shrink by several million dollars next year due to declining enrollment. It has an annual budget of about $300 million.

The district is currently in a hiring freeze to cope with an expected $1 million shortfall in this year’s budget due in part to a reduction in interest income on district accounts.

The Little Rock district’s bonds have an unenhanced rating of A1 from Moody’s Investors Service.

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