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Archive for Thursday, January 15, 2009

Governor’s budget proposal means cuts to local schools

Plan would result in less funding per pupil

Gov. Sebelius' proposed budget cuts would mean less funding for each student.

January 15, 2009, 9:18 a.m. Updated January 15, 2009, 12:17 p.m.

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Budget breakdown

Under the governor’s proposal, Lawrence school district spending will be cut as indicated below.

2008-09

General Fund$289,936

Local Option Budget$89,880

Special Education$56,623

Special Ed. LOB$17,553

Driver’s Ed$19,390$10,526

Professional Development

N/A

Total Target for Cut$473,382

2009-10

General Fund $869,642

Local Option Budget $269,589

Special Education $169,871

Special Ed. LOB $52,659

Professional Development $23,300 (funding eliminated)

Total Target for Cut $1,395,587

— Source: Kansas State Department of Education.

Gov. Kathleen Sebelius’ plan to hold harmless public school finance actually does harm school districts in that it will result in less funding on a per pupil basis, officials confirmed Thursday.

“We’ve been through it before,” Lawrence school Supt. Randy Weseman said. “What we don’t know now is what the bottom line will be.”

Facing a growing state budget deficit, Sebelius has proposed a slew of cuts, but the governor called for flat-funding of schools.

So how does that proposal actually result in a cut to schools? Here’s how.

During the last legislative session, state officials approved approximately $3.8 billion for public schools.

But in November, state officials readjusted upward the amount of school funding to take into account increased enrollment and an increase in the amount of funding needed for at-risk programs, which is based on an increase in free lunch enrollment.

But Sebelius’ budget proposal would keep the school funding at $3.8 billion.

Once the figures are penciled out under Sebelius’ plan, school districts must spread the same amount of funding over a larger student population that has greater needs. This means a $22 cut in base state aid per pupil for the current school year, and a $66 cut in the next school year.

“It is level funding, but it will result in a cut in base state aid per pupil,” said Mark Tallman, a lobbyist for the Kansas Association of School Boards.

“The governor’s budget does include a cut in terms of choices that districts will have to make,” Tallman said.

For the Lawrence district, Sebelius’ budget plan means a cut of almost $475,000 this school year, and nearly $1.4 million next school year, according to the district.

Because the general fund money is cut, that means the local option budget, currently at 31 percent, goes down as well. The district will lose almost $290,000 from the cut in base state aid, creating a loss of almost $90,000 from the local option budget for the current year. There are also cuts in special education funding, the special education local option budget and driver’s ed funding that makes up the $475,000 net loss.

“Because we receive general state aid from the state, we’re also allowed a local levy,” said Weseman. “If general state aid is reduced, the local levy is reduced.”

School officials are hoping to get their message out because Republican legislative leaders are calling for further cuts to public schools.

“The rest of the Legislature will have to debate this and we are feeling right now that this is probably the best funding effort we’ll see,” said Weseman. “I think the governor’s proposal tried to find some middle ground, but it does produce some cuts.”

And spreading a flat level of funding over greater costs doesn’t take into account a $162 million increase that had been promised schools — but now is essentially gone because of the state’s budget woes.

If that amount were factored in, Lawrence schools face a total cut of about $3.1 million over two years.

“We’ll be reviewing our budgets and finding ways to scale back our program,” Weseman said. “Every day that goes by as we continue to operate, we’re spending money, so we’re going to need some kind of clear, firm indication from the Legislature and the governor’s office at some point at what the bottom line will be.”

Comments

alm77 5 years, 11 months ago

My daughter was telling me this morning that her teachers and a teacher's brother paid for two buses to take the children to Southwest today so that they can practice for the MLK program tonight. Apparently the principal had to turn down their request due to the already crunched budget. I was blown away.

Sigmund 5 years, 11 months ago

Who would have guessed that Gov Kathy has more balls than the entire Lawrence City Commission when it comes to cutting spending in reaction to an inevitable decline in tax revenues forcing bureaucrats need to readjust their priorities?

Sigmund 5 years, 11 months ago

alm77 (Anonymous) says… "My daughter was telling me this morning that her teachers and a teacher's brother paid for two buses to take the children to Southwest today so that they can practice for the MLK program tonight."Did they write a check and to who? Hopefully you will be reimbursing the teachers for your daughters ride as will all the other students parents, correct? But doesn't this all appear a little absurd? What did they have to do pay for, fares on the empTy? Why should the teachers have to pay for "school buses?" Who is setting these ridiculous priorities where we spend millions upon millions for two new sports fields and teachers have to pay to rent the schools buses?

alm77 5 years, 11 months ago

Sig, I didn't know about it until today (they are going today) and yes I am going to ask if I can contribute. I've helped to buy supplemental books for the class before. I don't mind paying it at all, as a matter of fact, I wish they would ask me to, but I also know that there are parents who would complain (who wants to deal with that?) ... so maybe I should just put a bug in their ear that I'm willing to help or something. I have no idea how the $$ was handled. I heard it from my kid and I really doubt she knows the details. It was a school bus, not the T, that much I do know. I also support the sports complexes, so maybe the decision here was if the kids really needed to practice on-sight or not? I don't know. I trust the teachers to make good decisions on things like that.

budwhysir 5 years, 11 months ago

Let us all keep in mind the wastefull spending that was issued to research candidates for the new super here in Lawrence. Seems like our school board would have taken this into account

KSManimal 5 years, 11 months ago

Buses and salaries vs. sports fields - a non-issue.Pretend you have two separate bank accounts. From one, you can pay your mortgage and buy furniture. From the other, you can buy groceries and gasoline.Gas prices go way up, and you don't have enough money for food. Easy answer - use the excess from your other bank account, right?Wrong.State law prohibits you from using that money, regardless of your deficits in your other account.That's the way school finance works in Kansas. There is no logic in pointing at sports fields as the "culprit" when there is no money for buses. Sports fields or not, Kansas law does not allow money "A" to be spent on expense "B".

budwhysir 5 years, 11 months ago

I enjoy seeing the failing T transit system compared to our ever changing free public school system. Seems as though the only difference might be the names of the people that benefit from the excessive corporate stuctured spending taking place in our town

Boston_Corbett 5 years, 11 months ago

The schools better be getting prepared for some reality. The Governors budget protected K-12 while it smacked all other areas pretty hard (srs, higher ed, cities and counties, etc) And the Gov's overall numbers are still too high, depending on blue smoke and magic to work (gambling receipts, for instance) and do not recognize continuing deterioration of revenues, which the legislature will be forced to address in May.So as the legislature is forced to make the required additional reductions, and spreading all the cuts around a little more fairly, K-12 is going to share in some of the pain, not the puny little bruise being discussed in this article. And the magnitude of the states budget problems, and the nature of the economy will be such that the Supreme Court will keep their noses out of it this time.

Boston_Corbett 5 years, 11 months ago

.... and a lot of people are hoping the federal tooth-fairy, in the way of federal stimulus money bill, may make all these problems go away, but I would caution that money given to states for infrastructure probably won't allow spending of it for instructional/teachers salaries.

mom_of_three 5 years, 11 months ago

alm,You might check your school fees that you paid, because I know in junior high and high school, fees for busses for trips are sometimes in the schedule that you pay whether they take a trip or not.

mom_of_three 5 years, 11 months ago

I remember the last time there was budget cuts by the state. School fees tripled, fees were charged for everything. If you want your student to be involved in activities, be prepared to pay for it. nothing is free at schools any more. Then when funding was reinstated, none of the fees went down, except for the school bus. I can't wait to see what happens now.

budwhysir 5 years, 11 months ago

Wow, all the possible fee hikes and everyone is worried about a bus ride. I say we all take off work and give our kids rides to the places they need to go. Or we could give them money and let them ride on the public transit for each field trip. Even with the extreme spending of the transit company, this would still be cheaper. If I pay for your kid to go on a bus, then I will want my kid to ride on the bus too.

alm77 5 years, 11 months ago

hawk, yeah, forget the kids who's parents are dumb and lazy, let them eat cake! Are you really that naive to think all parents are qualified and have the time and money to homeschool? Good grief. Public schools can end a perpetuation of ignorance. I know plenty of parents who are barely fit to be parents and definitely not fit to be teachers. I'm sure you do, too. Check your world view with reality every once in a while would you?

mom_of_three 5 years, 11 months ago

" The problem with the parents of school age children now, is that they have had an easy life and the schools taught them that whatever they wanted, the government gave them"Let me know where you grew up and went to school to learn this, Hawk, because obviously you went to somewhere COMPLETEly differently from myself

pelliott 5 years, 11 months ago

Many school buses have been paid for by sponsors and private persons for special events for years. What you should do is offer to start a special fund for your class or your school with the school. It will help them with the "specials". I suggest contacting the principal. A donation of the cost of one bus will help both teachers and the kids.

alm77 5 years, 11 months ago

That should be "whose" not "who's". Blame it on my parents. ;)

UfoPilot 5 years, 11 months ago

You can bet that there will not be one single CUT in administration staff. Children first? I don't think so.

Rick Aldrich 5 years, 11 months ago

HOW ABOUT CUT THEIR SALARIES 10% AND LEAVE THE KIDS SCHOOLS ALONE.

Sigmund 5 years, 11 months ago

KSManimal (Anonymous) says... "That's the way school finance works in Kansas. There is no logic in pointing at sports fields as the “culprit” when there is no money for buses. Sports fields or not, Kansas law does not allow money “A” to be spent on expense “B”."Ummm, I am not sure that is completely correct in this instance. If I understand correctly when the sports fields funding is coming from from local real estate taxes. That may be true of money from the state but local money, if I understand correctly, can be spent or wasted on whatever the local administrators want.

Robert Rauktis 5 years, 11 months ago

I think every child deserves to see their own football team in their own stadium five times a year. That a God-given, American privilege we cannot take from our children! Teachers be damned!

Sigmund 5 years, 11 months ago

SFBayhawk (Anonymous) says… "I think every child deserves to see their own football team in their own stadium five times a year. That a God-given, American privilege we cannot take from our children! Teachers be damned!"Only as long as everyone gets a trophy for participation and no one wins and no one loses!

oohmgrover 5 years, 11 months ago

The introduction of technology and the internet into classrooms is allowing students to gain a wider breadth of global knowledge that would not have been possible in the days before digital projectors were becoming the norm. Heck, at Free State classes got to talk to students in England to share experiences and discuss the election! Sure can't say that about the repetition and recitation techniques that some of the babyboomers may still be clinging to.

Robert Rauktis 5 years, 11 months ago

"Heck, at Free State classes got to talk to students in England to share experiences and discuss the election!"Heaven forBID they write a letter and use stamps!Their best new investment is an electronic teething device for preschool errr...all-day kindergarten. Much superior to parents.

Sigmund 5 years, 11 months ago

oohmgrover (Anonymous) says… "The introduction of technology and the internet into classrooms is allowing students to gain a wider breadth of global knowledge that would not have been possible in the days before digital projectors were becoming the norm"Yeah, too bad they can't compose simple sentences but they can chat online, great. Again, I am not against technology but I am against purchasing all kinds of technology without any cost/benefit analysis about what is given up versus what is gained. If someone sat down and said "more important to talk to kids in England about US elections than school buses for the band" then that is one thing. Kids can chat with people and make cyber buddies online now at home if that is important to them.

alm77 5 years, 11 months ago

Um, well, my assumption came from "Maybe it is time for the parents to become teachers at home" that'd be homeschooling now wouldn't it? Maybe I took your statement too literally or to an extreme, because I do agree with your later clarification and I'm living it. Not that I think everyone should choose exactly as I have, for some, their circumstances (their reality) is much different from mine, and I get that. I've been blessed with what I've got (what we've worked hard to get) and we're doing the best I can with it.

Shardwurm 5 years, 11 months ago

This can mean only one thing:Teachers demand a pay raise!

gccs14r 5 years, 11 months ago

Having three separate bus systems is lunacy. KU on Wheels, the T, and the K-12 system all need to be just one citywide commercial bus system that runs 24/7/365. That would save a bunch of money. As for USD497, we need an independent auditor to go through there and find out where the money's going. If the current administration can't figure out how to make do, we need to get someone in there who can. This year they're getting a flat budget. Next year, it's going down outright. The free money well has dried up. They'd better get used to it, and remember that their mission is to educate students. Everything and everyone else is fluff and can be cut.

deskboy04 5 years, 11 months ago

Maybe there are some administrators who could get back into the classroom.

storm 5 years, 11 months ago

Hawk, excellent viewpoints, disagree with some of your solutions though, I'll offer my unpopular ones - children in class 9 - 3, clean building until 3:30. Bring own lunches, parents carpool, study in a ADA compliant building even if it's a barn.

farva 5 years, 11 months ago

Does anyone know what the salary range is for teachers? What is the salary of a beginning entry level teacher?I always hear the arguments to their compensation, but have never seen any true factful numbers.

volunteer 5 years, 11 months ago

An earlier post about the power of the LEA made me chuckle. The elementary teachers do not even have a 30 minute, duty-free lunch.Some power.

texburgh 5 years, 11 months ago

Hawk says,"The problem with the parents of school age children now, is that they have had an easy life and the schools taught them that whatever they wanted, the government gave them."Hmmm sounds like the schools the hawk went to along with the rest of us. Back in 1960 I had completely free schools. No fees, free bus service, books provided. We even had free dental and physical exams annually along with free polio vaccines. All at Government expense. And I lived in an upper middle class community.Can't say we have that today. Our government has let our children down. Republicans who benefited from a free public education now want to deny it to others because they have to pay taxes. Pathetic butt holes.And for those who think the Governor's plan is bad, just watch what the Republicans are doing to it right now in Committee. When the Republicans are done we'll be lucky to have heating in our buildings through the winter.

Centerville 5 years, 11 months ago

Hats off to Lindsey Slater for actually finding and reporting some facts. Gives me some hope that Scott Rothschild doesn't get final edit over every single story about Sebilius.

budwhysir 5 years, 11 months ago

another one rides the bus. What a song from the early 80s. I remember walking to school in the snow. One should learn and respect that it is not how fancy the facility rather the quality of information. On the current path we are on, we will continue to crank out under educated students, we will just be doing it in multi million dollar facilities.

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