Archive for Friday, May 24, 1991

SCHOOLS CONSIDER WAYS TO CUT COSTS

May 24, 1991

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enrollment growth of 250 students, and to provide negotiated salary increases for veteran teachers, an estimated 3.25 mill-levy increase would be needed beyond the 12-13 mill-levy increase.

Making up funding cuts for transportation and mandated special education programs also could require another 1.25 mills.

Board member Mary Lou Wright said the board might consider closing the district's smaller elementary schools.

Neuenswander said per-pupil costs are about $1,000 more in schools with one section at each grade level schools than they are at schools with three sections at each grade.

The board also will consider raising fees for such things as textbooks, extracurricular activities and renting school buildings. Board members also wanted to know if the district could legally charge a fee for busing.

Personnel costs constitute more than 80 percent of the district budget. However, the district already has renewed contracts for teachers and other personnel, so possibilities for personnel cuts are limited.

THE DISTRICT could save on personnel costs by not rehiring paraprofessionals whose one-year contracts were not renewed in April. The district also has imposed, for now, a hiring freeze for filling teaching vacancies.

Because state tax revenues are not made available until January, school district budgets actually extend six months beyond the regular fiscal year to cover expenditures between July and December. That carryover must be between 40 percent and 50 percent of the regular 12-month budget.

Neuenswander said the district could look at reducing its carryover. However, he said, the district might have to scramble to pay its bills in December if the carryover is reduced substantially.

The board will discuss the district's financial situation during a a forum to broadcast at 7 p.m. Thursday on Sunflower Cablevision. The board also will meet at 5:15 p.m. June 3 at the Lawrence High School library, 1901 La., to continue discussing budgetary matters.

Board member John Tacha said there is one advantage to being forced to go over the budget with a fine-toothed comb.

"I think it's going to be an opportune time to show people what we have to deal with year after year," he said.

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