The Lawrence school board at its meeting Monday night decided to wait on the state Legislature before making any more cuts.
The district has already made about $1.5 million worth of cuts and the board saw a list of other potential reductions totaling just under $3 million during a budget study session.
“The state’s revenue situation continues to deteriorate,” said Superintendent Randy Weseman. “There’s no doubt in my mind that we are at least looking at another $75 off the base and that could go as far as $130 off the base.”
Currently, the Legislature has taken $66 from the 2009-2010 base state aid per pupil. Instead of making cuts, the board decided to wait and see how much more could come off that number.
“The majority of that list (is) district things,” said Kathy Johnson, the finance division director.
Some of the items on the potential cut list include reducing secondary school attendance secretaries, cutting bus service for students who live less than 2.5 miles from elementary and junior high schools, and cutting days and/or hours to equal the salaries of 14 custodians.
The board also suggested figures it wanted to see for potential future cuts, including how much could be saved if one student were added to each class across the district or how much would be saved by closing schools or refiguring which grades attend what schools.
“These are things I don’t necessarily want to do, but my thinking is we may have to do these things next year,” said Scott Morgan, school board vice president.
But for now, the only certified staff cut was made at the board’s April 13 meeting. The new list of cuts centers on the administrative level and classified staff.
“You can actually position for $3.1 million (in cuts) without doing any certified cuts,” Weseman said.
The district is also waiting on what happens with Senate Bill 84, which deals with the local option budget.
“The Senate would allow the local option budget to stay at its current level if it passes, which would save the district about a million and a half (dollars) in cuts,” Weseman said.
If it does not pass, the local option budget will be reduced because it is tied to state funding, which will also be a smaller amount.
School board President Craig Grant thinks that the Lawrence budget situation is bad, but it could be worse.
“We’re in better shape than many districts in this state because of good fiscal responsibility of our staff and of our board,” Grant said. “These cuts are painful.”
The Legislature comes back for its wrap-up session Wednesday.