Lawrence school board members on Monday heard that budget cuts from the state will not be as drastic as originally thought.
At Monday night’s board meeting, Superintendent Randy Weseman said a new amendment adds money from the federal stimulus package that was not available when the budget was first being drafted. This keeps base state aid per pupil at $4,400 for two years, starting with the 2009-2010 school year. The amendment must go through the Kansas Legislature and be signed by the governor before it becomes law.
“I don’t have any reason to believe this won’t make it through the full Senate and the House,” Weseman said.
Board President Craig Grant seconded. “It’s going to happen,” he said.
The $33 cut per student for this school year stands, but no further cuts will happen until 2011.
“We do have costs that are increasing like everyone, but what we’ll have to do is find ways to reallocate money and scale back to live within the context of $4,400 per student,” Weseman said. “When you have rumors that reach the point of 19 and 20 percent, certainly flat funding is a welcome relief.”
Weseman told the board he still wants to look for efficiencies and other cuts and reallocations to meet new increased costs, like health care for employees.
“We’re always looking for efficiencies,” Weseman said.
Leader to be named
Grant said the new superintendent will be announced at a special meeting at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at district headquarters, 110 McDonald Drive.
He said the process was basically complete, but the district is still doing a background check and discussing a contract.
“It was a very good process,” Grant said. “I can’t go any further.”
Weseman also noted that the district has yet to finalize a venue for the Lawrence and Free State High graduation ceremonies.
The district is waiting to hear back from Kansas University to see whether Memorial Stadium is available May 24. Allen Fieldhouse, where the ceremonies were held last year, will be getting upgrades.
Weseman did say that Haskell Stadium is the backup outdoor location, but an indoor venue is also needed in case of bad weather.
“The next largest venues are our gymnasiums,” Weseman said. “Either one of those venues would require the issuing of tickets.”
Weseman also noted that once bleachers are installed at both high school football fields, graduation ceremonies could be held on site.
The plan will be announced at the board’s next meeting April 13.