Archive for Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Board discusses how to make more cuts

The Lawrence school board will have to find a way to cut $3 million from its budget. Taking money from reserve funds is a possibility, but would still leave the district short.

December 15, 2009

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The Kansas state government has cut funding for public education five times since July 2008. After making $2.5 million in cuts already for this school year, the Lawrence school board must cut just over $3 million more before the school year is over.

“It’s a lot of dollars that have been taken away from us in just a very short period of time,” finance division director Kathy Johnson said.

The board does have a few options. The district can dip into its contingency fund to make up the budget deficit, but the district also needs to be able to make payroll, which is about $5.5 million, and pay bills each month.

“We don’t always get the money that we’re anticipating and we have to be able to pay the bills and operate on a cash basis,” board member Marlene Merrill said.

The district has already held $500,000 back from building budgets for instructional costs and professional development. Johnson recommended the board take $2 million from the contingency account, leaving another $500,00 to find through funds not spent and potentially more mid-year cuts.

“We’ve already told building principals that they’ve got a lot less in their budgets,” Superintendent Rick Doll said. “We have to find either inside the budget or through cuts another $500,000.”

The 2010-11 school year doesn’t look much better. Unless the board makes permanent and ongoing reductions, it will have to cut another $3.9 million before next school year. That number can fluctuate based on future decisions in spending or saving, or if the state decides to cut more money from public education funding.

The board will have study sessions in January to make final decisions on how much to dip into its contingency fund versus how much to cut in order to make up the multimillion-dollar deficit.

“People need to know earlier rather than later,” board President Scott Morgan said.

Comments

Richard Heckler 5 years, 3 months ago

A little more than two years ago the district was PUBLICLY made aware there was a backlog regarding maintenance of the Lawrence elementary public schools. The district had to have known this for some time. http://www2.ljworld.com/polls/2007/oct/how_should_school_district_pay_20_million_maintena/

To allow this type of backlog to accumulate is ignoring the valuable resources of USD 497!!!

What is being done about it?

How WILL the school district pay for a $16.5 million maintenance backlog in elementary schools after blowing about $20 million on sports facilites?

How many ways can USD 497 be improved for the sake of the childrens future?

"Teachers are powerful people and keepers of the future. Help your students dream big! "

When is the last time $20 million USD 497 tax dollars was spent improving curriculum and vocational technical opportunities?

Definitions of Curriculum

Definition 1: Curriculum is such “permanent” subjects as grammar, reading, logic, rhetoric, mathematics, and the greatest books of the Western world that best embody essential knowledge.

Definition 2: Curriculum is those subjects that are most useful for living in contemporary society.

Definition 3: Curriculum is all planned learnings for which the school is responsible.

Definition 4: Curriculum is all the experiences learners have under the guidance of the school.

Definition 5: Curriculum is the totality of learning experiences provided to students so that they can attain general skills and knowledge at a variety of learning sites.

Definition 6: Curriculum is what the student constructs from working with the computer and its various networks, such as the Internet.

Definition 7: Curriculum is the questioning of authority and the searching for complex views of human situations.

Definition 8: Curriculum is all the experiences that learners have in the course of living.

http://coefaculty.valdosta.edu/stgrubbs/Definitions%20of%20Curriculum.htm

"Teachers are powerful people and keepers of the future. Help your students dream big! "

How steep is the price of victory is a fair question? Which is more valuable? Victory in athletics or victory in academics?

lama 5 years, 3 months ago

Probably not the right time to spend a pile of money on two high school football stadiums.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 3 months ago

I have a feeling that the budget-cutting measures will include closing yet more grade schools on the east side.

true_patriot 5 years, 3 months ago

Ditch the estate-tax phaseout and restore that cut to our state revenue.

braverthanu 5 years, 3 months ago

The school district needs to close elementary schools. Lawrence school district is like western kansas in regards to elementary schools.

anneht 5 years, 3 months ago

Start at the top!!! We are topheavy on administration and always have been.... why cannot the school board see it?

SettingTheRecordStraight 5 years, 3 months ago

true patriot,

You need not worry. Congress is already planning on reinstating the death tax (unfortunately).

And remember, any "cut to our state revenue" means more money will stay in the people's pockets.

bb837988 5 years, 3 months ago

Enough with the football field complaints. It has been pointed out several times that the money used for the fields was not money that could be used for educational purposes. And the process was begun before there were budget issues. If you would like to see those funds be available for classroom purposes, complain to someone who can do something about it - your state representatives.

It's easy to sit at your keyboard and criticize what the board and the administration for the district does or doesn't do. How many of you attended last night's meeting, listened to the discussion or participated in the discussion? The members of the board are taxpayers just like you, have or have had children who were students and want to see the education system in Lawrence excel or they wouldn't volunteer their time to serve on the board. I also imagine that they have access to a lot of information about these issues that we don't.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 3 months ago

"It has been pointed out several times that the money used for the fields was not money that could be used for educational purposes."

Well, it certainly wasn't used for educational purposes. But that sort of begs the question of why a school district is spending any money for something other than educational purposes.

avoice 5 years, 3 months ago

bb837988 says: "I also imagine that they have access to a lot of information about these issues that we don't."

That should not be the case. Whatever information our elected officials are privvy to we, as their constituents, should also have access to through them. If they keep information from the voters, the voters should vote them out.

avoice 5 years, 3 months ago

oops! got trigger happy on the v's! privy.

Flap Doodle 5 years, 3 months ago

Make all students use little bitty letters and numbers to save paper.

beawolf 5 years, 3 months ago

"Make all students use little bitty letters and numbers to save paper."... Just eliminate paper. My daughter is a teacher, she's made her classroom, paper AND text book free. Everything is done electronically.

Kookamooka 5 years, 3 months ago

There is a cost for a high quality civil society and it's paid for through taxation. There is no such thing as "trickle down" and the private sector has proved to the world that it can NOT be trusted to make good choices. They don't care about the "greater good" just what's good for them. So...while our future generations suffer through the idiocracy that was the Bush Whitehouse legacy, we are left to despair the dismanteling of our most treasured institutions.

beawolf 5 years, 3 months ago

"while our future generations suffer through the idiocracy that was the Bush Whitehouse legacy, we are left to despair the dismanteling of our most treasured institutions."....

Our educational resources have taken a hit with every Republican administration since Reagan. Either through funding cuts or mandated federal programs that local districts must fund on their own. Prior to that education cuts were fairly taboo regardless of politics. And, we wonder why jobs are outsourced overseas. It's not as much about hard dollar savings as it is about intellectual resources (smarter workers).

Ricky_Vaughn 5 years, 3 months ago

I couldn't have said it better, beawolf.

Now I know what my grandparents were talking about when they said "This country's goin' to hell in a handbasket!"

Since we're already outsourcing jobs, why don't we just outsource education too? I'll just send my kids to India, Japan, or Switzerland for their education.

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