Oskaloosa — Oskaloosa school board members, trying to deal with a $115,000 drop in state aid in the 1991-92 school year, struggled during their meeting this week to make cuts without sacrificing the quality of education, Supt. Jim White said.
School board members decided Monday night to reinstate textbook rental fees for students, something that was discontinued two years ago. The board also voted to increase school lunch costs. White will research textbook rental fees and lunch prices in surrounding school districts to set comparable costs.
In other efforts to save money, the board decided to cut $5,000 to $7,000 from the amount it spends on equipment and materials next year, and agreed to eliminate the late bus that took students home after extracurricular activities. "Parents will be responsible for picking up kids," White said.
BOARD MEMBERS discussed other potential budget cuts, such as reducing hours for teacher aides, combining bus routes to eliminate one route and discontinue busing for students who live within 2 miles of the school.
Another option was to reduce the district's six-month revolving carryover from 50 percent to 48 percent of the budget.
"If you reduce the budget, but don't reduce revenue, you can lower taxes," White said.
Not only is the district going to receive about $115,000 less from the state this year, but it also must spend more to maintain state-mandated programs. For example, special education costs will increase by 28 percent, or about $24,000, and transportation costs will go up 15 percent, or $22,000, White said.
IN OTHER business, board members:
Approved a contract with the Jefferson County Health Department to provide health services to Oskaloosa schools at a cost of $9 per student.
Postponed a $60,000 classroom remodeling project.
Approved a $500 contribution to the Baxter Springs class action lawsuit against the state concerning school financing.
Approved a list of exit outcomes generated by the curriculum committee. The list outlines expectations of students graduating from Oskaloosa High School.
Voted to continue affiliation with the Kaw Valley Regional In-Service.
Approved the Chapter I and Chapter II programs.
Agreed to provide classroom space for Jefferson County's Headstart program.
Authorized the superintendent to negotiate purchase of a 1988 Dodge van, which the district leased from a Topeka dealership. The lease will expire in July.
Granted permission for the city to replace 2-inch water lines with 4-inch water lines on the south side of school property.
Approved contracts for Cheryl Thompson, elementary teacher; David Kuchera, middle school math teacher; Robert Miller, middle school social science, science and language arts teacher; Kevin Bordewick, secondary math teacher; Janet Shoemaker, secondary business teacher; and Ann Silvers, high school secretary.
Scheduled the last meeting for the current board for 7 p.m. June 27 at the board office.