Archive for Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Board cuts $355K more from schools

June 9, 2009


Education budget cuts on tap

The Lawrence School Board cut another $355,000 from its budget Monday. Enlarge video

The Lawrence school board cut another $355,000 from its 2009-2010 budget at its meeting Monday night, bringing the grand total of reductions to more than $2.5 million.

The board had left about $440,000 of potential cuts up in the air after its May 26 meeting. The cuts from Monday include the equivalent of seven full-time custodians, a reduction in elementary clerical aides and a 50 percent cut in an increase to school instructional budgets. They also made the Lawrence Schools Foundation program coordinator a part-time position.

“I don’t want to make any of these cuts, but I didn’t want to make most of the other ones,” said Scott Morgan, board vice president.

But the board decided to look ahead to future rescissions coming from the state.

“The state treasurer today said the cuts will be large and will be painful,” said Superintendent Randy Weseman, noting the cuts would be necessary because state revenues for May were down about $100 million. Weseman mentioned that reductions could be coming in late July to make up that difference.

“The farther you get along in your budget year in a rescission environment, the more difficult it’s going to be for you to cut the budget,” Weseman said. “I think you need to prepare for what could be more severe cuts.”

The cuts on Monday put the district about $700,000 over the required amount of cutbacks to make up for the reductions in state funding.

The district will also be getting federal funds, but that amount was figured into the base state aid per pupil for next school year.

“It’s already part of the formula,” said Kathy Johnson, the finance division director. “You spend the stabilization money first.”

Johnson noted the district will get the federal money Sept. 1 and must spend it by the end of that month. “All the September salaries will be paid with the stabilization money,” she said.

Board President Craig Grant said that things are going to get worse before they get better, which is why he agreed that more cuts needed to be made.

“We can only hope that after maybe one more year of this, maybe things will be better,” Grant said. “That’s what I wish for the world.”


absolutelyridiculous 6 years, 5 months ago

I know that was very difficult but needed. Good work School Board members.

Sheila Hooper White 6 years, 5 months ago

I think they should look into how the buildings are used. The building my husband is custodian for has people in it every single day. He or his crew have to go in on Sundays b/c some of the sports teams affiliated with the school have their banquets on Sundays. They don't have to pay to use the facilities but at least 2 guys have to go in open up the building and turn on lights for maybe 2 or 3 hours. I would like to know the cost on that. The people don't have to pay to use the building and this is something I feel should be done during the week. His crew right now is at least 2 people short and has been for the past few years. They get temp people in but they don't last either. They haven't hired anyone to fill these positions and now they definitely won't be filling them but how many more people will his crew lose? Oh well now we get to sit on the edge of our seat waiting to hear if he gets to keep his job.

Shardwurm 6 years, 5 months ago

Cut more. There's more fat in our school systems than 10 pounds of bacon.

LogicMan 6 years, 5 months ago

Are there schools that should be closed/merged? Now's the time ...

Lori Nation 6 years, 5 months ago

The new athletic field came at the right time. NOT!!

Daniel Speicher 6 years, 5 months ago

There is absolutely no way they could combine or close any schools. Most of them are running at or near capacity already. I think evaluating salaries and positions at a district/administrative level is a route they should explore, however.

Does anyone know if the prevention specialist position is still safe? With the addition of the NCLB guidelines to assure that there are NO barriers to ANY child, I believe it would be disastrous to cut a position that so vitally teaches children and parents how to effectively eliminate and prevent social and behavioral barriers from being formed. And Dianne Ash is better at that job than anyone the district could hope for. I would hope they realize how underpaid she is for the job she does... They're getting a pretty good deal with her already.

--Danny Speicher

Kookamooka 6 years, 5 months ago

I agree with Speicher. Most districts find that cutting at the top, reorganizing and stream lining is a HUGE money saver. USD497 is top heavy. They make the most money.

Ironically, tenure makes it impossible for districts to save money on reducing teachers. The most expensive teachers stay and the inexpensive, new ones, go. Where is the sense in that?

conservative 6 years, 5 months ago

Here's an easy way to cut some money from the budget. Get rid of early dismissal Wednesday's. Because we have a set number of hours that have to fall in the school year per the state we end up running the schools for more than a week extra every year. This is why we start before Labor day and end after Memorial day.

Getting rid of those extra days would allow them to use less utilities in the buildings. Plus I'm sorry, but have you ever tried driving past a school on Wednesday afternoon when the teachers are supposed to have "collaboration time". The parking lots do not have nearly the number of cars in them they should. I've been told before that is because teachers sometimes have to go off site for meetings but really? Every week? I think not.

mysixthsense 6 years, 5 months ago

Shardwurm (Anonymous) says…

Cut more. There's more fat in our school systems than 10 pounds of bacon.

Is this why staff working in the trenches don't take breaks and RUN to the restroom if there is a spare minute? I do agree that the school district is definitely top heavy...!

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