Archive for Tuesday, May 12, 2009

School board can’t put budget to rest

The Lawrence school board approved $2.7 million-worth in football bleachers for Lawrence High and Free State high schools at Monday night's meeting.

May 12, 2009


Superintendent Randy Weseman told Lawrence school board members Monday night that they have to be making cuts between now and June 1 to meet the lack of public education funding stemming from the state’s approved budget.

“Our projections were pretty close,” Weseman said. He noted the board will receive a refined list of potential cuts at its meeting May 26.

The state cut another $83 million from funding after cutting $45 million during its first round of cutbacks. But Senate Bill 84 passed, meaning the district will be able to keep the local option budget monies it collects at the current level.

“Even though we’re thankful that we did preserve authority for the LOB and we didn’t receive ... 5 percent cuts, we are hurt at 2.75,” Weseman said.

Fringe benefits

Teacher contract negotiations have been ongoing and those discussions include teacher fringe benefits, namely health care.

The board Monday authorized the fringe benefits committee to change health insurance providers from Cigna to Coventry Health Care. However, the proposed plan would cost the district another $1 million.

“Several of us asked for a zero increase plan,” said board member Marlene Merrill.

The fringe benefit committee co-chair, Valerie Johnson-Powell, said the group will come back to the board with a zero increase option to look at.

The switch to Coventry was due to a large increase in cost from Cigna.

“The renewal increase out of the gate was almost 48 percent,” said Andy Cater, a third-party fringe benefit consultant with Haake Companies.

Athletic field work

The board approved the purchase of bleachers for both new high school football fields. The bleachers are part of phase two of the outdoor athletic field upgrade.

Total cost of the project is just over $2.2 million. Each facility will be able to hold about 3,500 people, with home and visitor bleachers on opposite sides of each field.

The board also approved the renovation of bathrooms at Lawrence High at the cost of $188,000. Operations and facility planning division director Tom Bracciano said the work should be done in time for the start of the new school year. The contract includes new flooring, fixtures, partitions, ceilings and lighting.

The next board meeting will be Tuesday, May 26, because of Memorial Day.


honestone 8 years, 11 months ago

I thought they only had 2.1 million for our sports program?

fearsadness14 8 years, 11 months ago

I don't think 3,500 seats will be enough for a Free State LHS game....

Lori Nation 8 years, 11 months ago

That's the school board for you, using money on athletics first before putting it towards education. I guess sports gives the student a higher chance of getting a scholarship. When are they going to start budgeting the money so we are not paying the ridiculous text fees, and misc. fees for our students to be in the classroom.

mom_of_three 8 years, 11 months ago

lristh1230 - were you here several years ago to see the increased fees due to the budget cuts then? And then when the money was put back into the budget, the fees didn't go down. I don't blame sports for it, I blame the head honchos in charge.

Would you prefer the football fields not have bleachers?

salad 8 years, 11 months ago

Whatever they decide, I guarantee you that the people at the top will not suffer. Perfect example: Blue Valley superintendent, Tom Trigg, recently announced that he'll forfit his annual raise to help out the budget.....the guy makes $270,000+ per year.

bearded_gnome 8 years, 11 months ago

Our friend who abuses the forum, its rules, and other people: Sven/Cool/Spiderman/Coltrane/Rusty1/Ariadne….. and most recently, Ocean.

Welcome Bronze.

doing the sports fields cost the district far more because of Ocean/.../bronze's litigation and agitation. furthermore, it was obvious that he doesn't really care about the money, how much, or where it came from for the bleachers!

this is simply one in hundreds of rhetorical opportunities he makes to attack the building of the field at LHS itself.

hey "Bronze" how long will this screenname last? you've gone through seven already! remember you got kicked off of LJWorld comment boards nearly a month ago for outing me? you remember that? I do.

Boston_Corbett 8 years, 11 months ago

so, the litigious non-house-owning non-architect architect returns. Lets see whom he sues or files license complaints against next.

I don't think Ocean knew he was booted, gnome.

bearded_gnome 8 years, 11 months ago

no boston, he didn't know for a long time. but I think his use of a new screenname implies he probably figured it out, or saw us talking about it, in the last few days.

it is really sad, how Sven has put so much effort into thwarting the community and the schoolboard. how his private domain is more important than what is good for the kids. personally, I think one good stadium could have served the two schools, but I see how they arrived at the current plan.

his obstruction at any cost, agitate any poor innocents, tell any lie, make false argument after false argument, all is just incredible. then, of course, there's his horrible behavior on here, pm'ing many of us with harrassing PM's. I do wonder how long "Bronze" will last. I wonder if he will try to post my real name again.

Chris Ogle 8 years, 11 months ago

bearded_gnome (Anonymous) says…

Our friend who abuses the forum, its rules, and other people:

Forget the sports! What color is your kids math books?

pace 8 years, 11 months ago

I actually would prefer no football program at all, a few kids get to play, some are hurt, maybe killed. I don't think I am in the majority. I do approve of keeping the bathrooms in good order. NO more sports, yes to physical education classes.

Richard Heckler 8 years, 11 months ago

The total athletic project will cost between $15-20 million for initial construction. The cost of staffing and maintenance has not been revealed. Oddly the park department is duplicating USD 497 on a Clinton Lake Regional Park Project that leaves taxpayers responsible for new fields,equipment,staffing and maintenance. Not to mention being responsible for 1,505 aces leased from the Corp of Engineers.... another $15-$20 million - where's the money? Increased user fees and other tax increases.


National Health Insurance would save taxpayers a ton of tax dollars on USD 497 medical insurance expenses.

All taxpayers need coverage and taxpayers need relief from high cost med insurance.

HR 676 is the only equitable approach that accomplishes that goal.

HR 676 would cover every person for all necessary medical care including prescription drugs, hospital, surgical, outpatient services, primary and preventive care, emergency services, dental, mental health, home health, physical therapy, rehabilitation (including for substance abuse), vision care, hearing services including hearing aids, chiropractic, durable medical equipment, palliative care, and long term care.

A family of four making the median income of $56,200 would pay about $2,700 in payroll tax for all health care costs.

HR 676 ends deductibles and co-payments. HR 676 would save hundreds of billions annually by eliminating the high overhead and profits of the private health insurance industry and HMOs.

Health care costs and facts:

bearded_gnome 8 years, 11 months ago

and again merrill spams the board with epic irrelevancy, cut-and-paste!

one day, a rather young and wet behind the ears poster asked "is Merrill just liberal software that spams the boards with liberal spam?"

good question. lawnmowerman favors yes favors power outages as a means to enforce energy conservation! he strongly endorsed John Edwards in the last presidential primary. he called foreign terrorists blowing up our troops in iraq "patriots."

and, he's on the Traffic Safety Commission," he says that broken streets serve a useful function as passive traffic calming devices.

Ravens, I don't think Bronze/ariadne/ocean/spiderman/coltrane/cool/rusty2/sven knows what "phase" means.

it is important to refresh everybody's memory: Bronze/sven negotiated without good faith, signed the agreement without good faith. stated on these boards he would agitate the University Place neighborhood Assn to sue the school district on issues he'd signed. signing an agreement without good faith, such agitation, could make him face very stiff penalties from the judge overseeing the terms of the centenial NA suit he signed without good faith.

bearded_gnome 8 years, 11 months ago

hey Ravens, remember a month ago almost, was when Ocean got himself kicked off.

we were discussing the installation of lights at the new tennis courts, just fourteen feet from the property line.

I wonder if we reprinted some of those posts if "Bronze" will go over the edge again.

something about the lights for the new tennis courts really set him off.

Jenny Morgison 8 years, 11 months ago

lristh1230 - That's the school board for you, using money on athletics first before putting it towards education.

These funds would have come out of Capital Outlay which cannot be used for education purposes. These funds are for maintenance, buses, upgrades, etc. You may want to check into it, but I think that is correct.

fools_gold_is_he 8 years, 11 months ago

Bronze, do you even own property in the school district?

If not, why not?

Any stories from Colorado courts you wish to share with us?

Prairielander 8 years, 11 months ago

Bearded_gnome: "he says that broken streets serve a useful function as passive traffic calming devices."

I happen to agree with this for certain neighborhoods.

Boston_Corbett 8 years, 11 months ago

Maybe headline: "School Board Can't Put Budget to Rest" should read: "Sven Still Can't Get Any Facts Straight"

momfromlawrence 8 years, 11 months ago

For those of you who pay the school fees, do you know what all of those fees are for? Don't feel bad, neither do the people who work at the district. Like the transportation fee. Who takes field trips in the secondary schools? Not very many.

As for the cuts and the fields, well the fields come out of a separate account which is only designated for that item. They can not be rolled over to another account. There are lots of cuts that can be made in other areas that would save the district money and still give the teachers and staff raises. For those of you who are not aware, these people are below market value. We have lost a lot of good teachers to other districts because of the pay and the benefits. The insurance is way to expensive for the staff to pay. It is a lot more than other companies in the cit.

I can tell you that the district could have saved some money by not offering the new Super more than the present one is getting. I have heard that there are more chiefs than needed. I can tell you that there are more programs for the kids now than there were in the past. They have all kinds of special services for students which could possibly be cut to give the teachers raises.

And as far as sports go, I would not recommend cutting those programs. These players get scholarships for colleges which they desperately need. It is also a great way for kids to get exercise as well as socializing. As a parent, I loved watching my son play football.

If you want to know what goes on in the district, you should work for them and find out the truth.

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