Archive for Friday, December 11, 2009

Lawrence School Board to discuss an additional $3.3 million in cuts

December 11, 2009


The Lawrence school board on Monday will receive an update on how the district could handle future budget cuts.

With more budget reductions coming from the state a few weeks ago, the district needs to cut another $3.3 million from its general fund for this school year.

The board, which has its regular meeting Monday night, has a few options, such as pulling a certain amount of dollars from their contingency fund or making more cutbacks.

“We will ask the board for some general direction Monday night on how much to pull out of contingency and other fund balances,” Superintendent Rick Doll said. “Those are big numbers in every type of way.”

Depending on how much the board decides to take from the district’s savings, the district may have to cut up to another $4 million out of next year’s budget. While no decisions will be made on what to cut on Monday, the timeline is to have work sessions in January and make those choices by March.

Certain districts in Kansas may not be able to make payroll in coming months because they have dipped too far into contingency. That’s one situation Doll wants to avoid.

“We don’t think that’s good business practice,” Doll said. “It’ll be harder and harder for (the board) to stay with that agreement the tighter it gets.”

The other major item on the agenda is a report on the English Language Learners program. Only certain elementary schools offer English as a Second Language, and Doll says some of those programs are overcrowded.

The board will hear information and “possible boundary changes that we might have to make in terms of which ELL kids (go) to which school,” Doll said.

The meeting starts at 7 p.m. Monday at the Educational Support and Distribution Center, 110 McDonald Dr.


Stephen Roberts 8 years, 4 months ago

While I know the cuts are coming, I am curious if these are cuts to programs or not filling positions or actually getting rid of people.

It is easy to to talk about cuts and not fill positions. I have seen it in a few business and school districts, the harder thing to do is actually look at each line item and see where the money and people can be reduced.

I am also curious, since parents have to pay additional school fees, does any know if the board thought about charging a fee for students who request a transfer from their "home" school to another school - supposed to go to Central, but you want to go to West instead? i have heard of a district in another state that does that and parents still have to provide transportation.

gccs14r 8 years, 4 months ago

The Legislature is about to change the rules that will permit capital monies to be used for operating expenses. Any chance you idiots can back out of that worthless land deal you just made?

KU_cynic 8 years, 4 months ago


Presumably parents move a child from the closest school to another for a very good reason having to with that child's well-being. Why charge a fee for that when it doesn't involve any meaningful expense to the school district?


Right on. USD 497 blows money left and right on land, facilities, and athletic fields, and then pleads poverty with respect to basic operational expenses. This has got to end.

kugrad 8 years, 4 months ago

When Dr. Doll says,"Boundary changes," what he means is CLOSING elementary schools, most likely on the East Side. New York and Cordley parents, better get active! Your kids may be "boundary changed" out of a school.

Randall Barnes 8 years, 4 months ago

MAKE CUTS FOR THE PROPERTY THEY BOUGHT SOUTH OF TOWN A VACANT LOT.... YOU CANT PAY THE TEACHERS YOU HAVE NOW WHY WASTE MONEY ON LAND ?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

Lori Nation 8 years, 4 months ago

This is just 1 response I received back from the school board in regards to the useless spending of $2 million on a piece of land.

The money spent on land acquisition is from the capital outlay fund. Capital outlay funds cannot, by law, be spent on teacher salaries or instructional supplies. The district has had a practice for many years of strategically "banking" land for future district needs.
Mary Loveland

If you don't complain to our school board, KS state board of education, or our state representatives nothing will be changed. NOW IS THE TIME TO COMPLAIN ABOUT THE UNNNECESSARY SPENDING OF OUR DISTRICT.

and by the way USD 497 is not this good. Eudora actually puts their students first!!!

password 8 years, 4 months ago

wow. 3.3 million is alot to cut at once. this is going to be tough on all the schools and especially the one(s) that are going to be closed. i hear it's coming soon like in the spring.

gl0ck0wn3r 8 years, 4 months ago

I'm waiting for a merrill cut and paste.

GardenMomma 8 years, 4 months ago

Surely they won't close schools in the middle of the school year.

password 8 years, 4 months ago

what else can they do but close schools? 3.3 mil is huge

Boston_Corbett 8 years, 4 months ago

Marion (Marion Lynn) says…Will the school board cut the Astroturf?"

Some people, including the poster named above, believes that an ad hominem analysis of arguments on this board is inappropriate, unfair, or somehow off-bounds. And that people making ad hominem analysis should have their posts removed (i.e. censorship)

Others would suggest that the credibility of peoples opinions should be evaluated in the context of their reputation for truth-telling and their particular professional experience in a focused skill area. And that peoples published opinions should be included in any analysis of fairness or attacks.

I would just respectfully suggest to J. Kealing and others that if mr non-sequitor can post such meaningless stuff as here, that he should be prepared to read what we say about him.

That is all

Richard Heckler 8 years, 4 months ago

Cordley,Kennedy and New York Schools are on the chopping block which is a disastrous to say the least.

First of all the USD 497 BOD needs to prove why that will work.

What I believe is driving this closure is the fact that 20 million dollars must be paid back for the athletic improvements.

Spending that money left behind $16.5 million in school mainentance on elementary schools which should have been the priority.

It seems odd that one of the main forces behind this decision is Scott Morgan who as a board member in a previous term wanted to close east side elementary schools. East Heights got closed which divided the students between Kennedy and New York.

Scott Morgan was voted out of office. He ran for state senate and was defeated soundly.

During that period of previous closings the idea was being floated was build one large school and have parents drive their children to big location. This is very very expensive thinking. No significant dollar savings could be effectively substantiated.

I believe Quail Run is over crowded so why not bring some 5th and 6th graders to the east side schools?

A ton of of public school tax dollars was spent on New York school during the previous closing discussions. It does NOT make sense to close this school. It does not make sense to close Kennedy. These two schools are not necessarily close together.

Richard Heckler 8 years, 4 months ago

USD recently spent more than $22,000 an acre or $1.75 million dollars on land it is not sure will ever be used for USD 497 purposes. This is irresponsible considering the hard economic times.

Demand a recall on this vote! Demand a recall on this vote! Demand a recall on this vote!

Hey tax payers this is OUR money!!!

Richard Heckler 8 years, 4 months ago

It's time for taxpayers to demand a vote on this issue! It is OUR money!

How many ways could public schools obtain tax dollars to sustain the necessary funding?

There is this 1994 sales tax that has been around for a long time and will be around for many many years to come. It is dominated by the park department.

Why not borrow money from this substantial tax dollar pie and pour some tax dollars into the public school system. A few high dollar park projects could be put on the back burner and/or accomplish them at a slower pace. This money can legally be used for many things.

What's more important new expensive park projects or our public education system? I say place new projects on hold and proceed with them on a new schedule. Do what needs to be done in the interest of public education. This tax dollar money will be around after most of us are in our graves so it's not like the park department will die and projects will not get finished.

It's time for taxpayers to demand a vote on this issue! It is OUR money!

USD recently spent more than $22,000 an acre or $1.75 million dollars on land it is not sure will ever be used for USD 497 purposes. This is irresponsible considering the hard economic times.

Demand a recall on this vote! Demand a recall on this vote! Demand a recall on this vote!

Hey tax payers this is OUR money!!!

Amy Heeter 8 years, 4 months ago

It is just good PR to take out Kennedy school that way the opposition to Loring's drunk shelter don't have a leg to stand on.

kansasmutt 8 years, 4 months ago

Eudora schools are rated #1 in the state. They too waste lots of money though. They also lie to the taxpayers about needing new schools and that the old ones are unsafe, but after building a new one for $30 million, they put students back into the unsafe school for special classes, with no repairs done. They are liars, manipulators and wastefull .They do however teach kids very well, but at a HUGE cost to the homeowners.If they had fixed the existing schools and added on instead of a new school ,taxes on a $140.000.00 home would have been reduced over $1,400.00 a year starting this year.Now they have new bonds that equaled and surpass what went off and taxes now will go up another $400.00 on top of that a year. They have the city strapped so they cant raise the mill levy to fix the city stuff, like streets and sewers.Now they ( eudorians) will be paying for 15 years for unneeded schools and the city cant make enough money to do repairs and is going to suffer real bad.The schoolboard should be a proud bunch of yahoos. Owh, some have quit because of this, what a lame way out.......Eudora, such a nice exspensive place to live...

Kathy Theis-Getto 8 years, 4 months ago

Good PR? Wow, that's a stretch. Any proof of that statement? There is so much misunderstanding relative district operational funds and capital outlay. Read up on it - it is not difficult to grasp.

3up3down 8 years, 4 months ago

Cuts will start in each building. Para-professionals will be the first to go. They assist the teachers with kids who have learning disabilites. The music programs will not be cut in the classroom, but their tours will not happen. Sports will begin to feel the crunch next with the not purchasing of new equipment and the reduction in games played per season. The junior highs have all ready seen this. Next will be non-tenured teachers. What I really want to know is where in all these cuts are they going to start ripping out all the non-essential personnel at the district office?

KSManimal 8 years, 4 months ago

I wonder how many people who post their complaints, re - school board spending/cutting decisions, have ever read through the district's budget line by line?

Or, how many actually understand state laws, re - public education funding?

I'm guessing none (except me, of course!)

Keep in mind as you fuss over this mess that the real culprits are about 30 miles west of here, under that big green dome.

Richard Heckler 8 years, 4 months ago

The legislature is only part of the USD 497 PROBLEM.

It's also how reckless the spending goes.

Most of us know that captial outlay funding cannot be spent on operational expenses.

Every neighborhood in Lawrence should come in support of keeping neighborhood schools open and operating. Why?

  1. Smaller classes typically produce the most desired results

  2. The school district cannot be managed like a private business OR according to ones private beliefs about taxes.

  3. Where are the eastside students going to be placed? In the westside classes thus expanding the population of each classroom???

  4. Do USD 497 taxpayers want to be billed for a larger central location which will be very very expensive and may never payback the community.

  5. Why not keep using schools that which are paid for and keep paying back by the mere virtue that they are paid off.

6.Closing schools to build a new larger building is very brown thinking. It puts more traffic on the roads and takes away from the walkable community thinking(keeping our children healthy). Simply NOT forward thinking.

Kathy Theis-Getto 8 years, 4 months ago

KsManimal - of course you are correct. But, I fear too rational for those who only wish to complain.

Maxandwillie 8 years, 4 months ago

while its unpopular the reality is in a tough economy things must be streamlined. Lawrence has 15 elementary school compared to Blue valley that has 19 (5 high schools beginning in aug 2010). If you look at their test scores they are very high despite their large elementary schools.

the local solution is to make the system more efficient by consolidating elementary schools in Lawrence.

The state wide solution is to make the system more efficient by consoladting school districts and changing the funding formula so the smallest districts do not get the bulk of the money per pupil. If you dont want taxes to be raised then you have to cut expenses.

Those who continue to talk about astro-turf as the problem should lobby their state legislators to change the law so districts have more say so in how they use their funds. That would allow districts to use money currently allocated for only capital outlay for other expenses and if districts then make decisions to support athletics with $ in tough times then the community can toss them out.

Hop2It 8 years, 4 months ago

I keep hearing a couple schools that might be closed. Are they targeted because they are the smallest schools? Do they have older buildings that will need repair?

nascar 8 years, 4 months ago

Manimal is correct in knowing many of the current public school funding woes are a direct result of the decision makers under the Topeka dome. I would add to that the members of the Kansas Chamber of Commerce. Take a look at their web-site. I think you will find a correlation between their political spending power, tax exemptions, and talking heads who represent those interests very well in Topeka. Lawrence is fortunate to have state representatives who have not sold out to these same interests.

workinghard 8 years, 4 months ago

Looking at the school boundary map, if they're looking at schools to close, Hillcrest seems more viable. Hillcrest and Sunset are very close together. Where would Kennedy kids go? I know some Kennedy kids in the past were bused to Langston Hughes for part of the day because they had behavior issues. How much did that cost? Maybe they should look at the performance tests at each school before they make any decisions.

tomatogrower 8 years, 4 months ago

Kansas has one of the lowest corporate tax rates in the country. Lowering taxes are suppose to mean corporations will create jobs. Where are those jobs? Someone needs to start asking these questions. I want proof that companies are using the taxes to create jobs, and not to line the pockets of their executives. And we aren't going to count the chauffeurs, maids, and other servants that these executives supposedly "deserve". I mean real jobs that allow a person to support their families.

Katara 8 years, 4 months ago

Marion (Marion Lynn) says… Ah but the football teams will kick off; they will kick off! ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ You have no children or grandchildren that attend school here. You do not live in Lawrence. Why are you so concerned about Lawrence schools and not the ones where you actually live?

agnes17 8 years, 4 months ago

Maxandwille wrote, "If you don't want taxes to be raised then you have to cut expenses".

I think you've hit on something; perhaps you didn't mean to? Do you think raising taxes might protect public schools? Because certainly I want taxes to be raised, if it means saving neighborhood schools in Lawrence.

Motivation 8 years, 4 months ago

Lawrence is so backwards. They want to cut budgets for schools and education, but won't add to the budget for family law and help the town's financial issues by shutting down Bert-Nash, the senseless coucilling office that does NOTHING but promote drug addiction and abuse of children.

And let's not forget Judge Shepard that NEVER listens to anything rational and continues to give children back to abusive parents without reviewing all the facts. Perhaps the entire Lawrence infrastructure should go back to school or be forced to live in the squaller of the L-town public and personally witness the outcomes of their choices to make them act appropriately to citizen concerns.

Paul R Getto 8 years, 4 months ago

Swandiver: "Good business practice for the community would involve running the administrators of the USD out of town on a rail, making sure that their future professional careers reflect the stupidity and criminality of their actions of the past calendar year here." ====That's pretty tough stuff. You willing to go to the board meeting, identify the 'criminals' and sign your name to the complaint so the board can call you to testify at the trials?

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