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Archive for Tuesday, January 28, 1992

SCHOOL DISTRICT SURPASSING BUDGET IN SOME AREAS

January 28, 1992

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Although the Lawrence school district could end up $100,000 over budget in areas that the Lawrence school board had hoped to reduce spending, the district will not surpass its overall 1991-92 budget, a school official says.

The Lawrence school board Monday revisited those areas in which the board made spending cuts last summer in response to a $2.6 million drop in state aid to the district.

Although the board had approved $955,900 in general fund spending reductions, subsequent changes in those spending decisions could mean that the district will save more around $850,400 in those areas.

For example, the board last summer approved an effort to save $100,000 in hiring paraprofessionals by raising the number of students an elementary classroom would need before receiving the assistance of a paraprofessional.

However, in September, after hearing concerns from parents and teachers, the board lowered the required number of students from what had been set in the cost-cutting measure. As a result, the district may save only $80,000 in the area of hiring paraprofessionals.

AMONG other measures that were rescinded or modified were:

The decision to end busing of students to India School, meaning that the board will not save $34,000 as hoped. India patrons last fall opposed plans to end the busing, in part because of a lack of sidewalks in the India students' neighborhoods.

The decision to require junior high school students to live 2.5 miles from school instead of 2 miles in order to be eligible for busing. That move would have saved the district $43,000.

The decision to reduce mailing costs from $56,000 to $46,000. To date, the district has spent $26,998 on mailings, compared to $25,110 at this time last year.

Craig Fiegel, the district's director for business and facilities, said the district has attempted to reduce mailings, but an increase in postal rates is one reason the district is spending more this year.

FIEGEL said the district can always turn to the contingency fund if savings are not quite what board members had hoped.

"My biggest concern is that we will be closer to spending our full budget authority, which will in essence cut our cash reserve" for the following school year, Fiegel said.

On the other hand, the district actually is seeing more revenue than was expected from building rental fees, which the board raised last summer as a way to increase revenues. As of the middle of the school year, the district had brought in $14,170 above what it had brought in by the same time last year.

The board on Monday reduced those rates somewhat for the Salvation Army's Biddy Basketball programs and for the city's recreation programs. Even though that rate reduction was retroactive, the district still will be about $13,070 ahead of revenues brought in by this time last year.

IN OTHER business Monday, the board:

Heard from Cordley School Principal Janet Broers on shared decision-making at the school building level.

Received a written report from Lawrence School Supt. Dan Neuenswander on the use of educational cablevision in other school districts. Board members at their last meeting said they want to develop a policy for using Channel 47, which Sunflower Cablevision has provided for district use. The board did not discuss Neuenswander's report Monday.

Delayed consideration of a proposal from World Geo Solutions regarding student transportation. Board member John Tacha said he would like to see World Geo Solution's work on enrollment projections before deciding whether to hire the firm to help in planning the district's bus routes. Laurie Jampolsky, director of World Geo Solutions, will present enrollment projections to the board Feb. 10.

APPROVED purchase contracts for $48,522 in food and non-food supplies and $13,760 in printing paper.

Appointed a board negotiating team for teacher negotiations, which will begin Friday. Representing the school board will be Neuenswander, board member Barbara Ballard and Bill Wilson, the district's director for human resources.

Heard a request from board member Tom Murray that board members be informed of any capital outlay purchases above $2,000. Under present policy, only expenditures of $6,000 or more need be approved by the board. Nevertheless, Fiegel said he could notify board members of capital outlay expenditures exceeding $2,000.

PUT OFF discussion of how the public could provide input on some recently proposed "exit outcomes," or skills and characteristics that Lawrence High School graduates should have.

Held an executive session to discuss a lease agreement that the district is trying to arrange with Environmental Management Resources, which would like to lease Kaw Valley School. The board also discussed the manner by which it will evaluate the superintendent.

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