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Archive for Thursday, April 22, 2010

Eudora school district agrees to cut budget, add $50 enrollment fee

The board also decided to charge $50 per student to attend school.

April 22, 2010

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— The Eudora school board voted unanimously Thursday to make budget cuts and add a $50 enrollment fee for all students in an effort to balance the budget for next year.

The board agreed 6-0 to cut $670,000 from next year’s budget. Combined with fee increases and other steps taken earlier, the district expects the actions to bring about $800,000 in savings and increased revenue.

Each member took the recommendation of Superintendent Don Grosdidier and agreed to cuts based on an anticipated reduction in state funding.

Board members expressed concern about the decision.

“I have been on the board for four terms, approximately 15 years and I have never experienced anything even closely resembling what not only this board but boards across the state and the nation are dealing with right now,” said board member Kenneth Massey.

The cuts will permanently close Nottingham Community Learning Center, which no longer serves students, and temporarily close the West Early Childhood Family Center. Classes at West will be moved to Eudora Elementary School.

Grosdidier said it’s reasonable to expect West to be closed for at least three years. The district plans to continue maintenance on the building so students can return and community members can possibly use the facility in the meantime.

For the first time in its history, the board also imposed a enrollment fee for students to attend class.

Beginning next year, all families with children in preschool through 12th grade will be required to pay an annual enrollment fee of $50 per student. A new fee was also adopted for middle school and high school students participating in extracurricular activities sponsored by the Kansas State High School Activities Association.

Students involved in sports, band, choir, cheer and dance will pay an annual fee of $50.

The board plans to discuss setting a limit on fees for families with multiple students. The board plans to discuss a fee ceiling at the May 13 board meeting.

Other cuts include:

• Reducing administrators at Eudora High School from three to two, which would eliminate a full-time activities director.

• Reducing 1.5 teaching positions in the Eudora-De Soto Technical Education Center, removing technical programs at Eudora Middle School.

• Eliminating the EMS math skills teacher, reducing remedial math instruction.

• Eliminating the EMS/EHS library aide, reducing library hours at both schools.

• Making cuts to activities at EMS and EHS, including the elimination of subvarsity non-league competitions and the elimination of the EHS forensics program.

“It was really our only option at this time to meet what we suspect is coming down the pike in regards to cuts from the state,” Massey said. “To go any deeper than that at this point without knowing what’s coming would have been irresponsible on our part as a board.”

The board chose not to cut three reading teachers at the middle school level. EMS leaders believe a cut to the reading program would greatly impact students’ learning.

Comments

commuter 4 years, 8 months ago

What Eudora is now just adding school fees to students. Lawrence has been doing that for years and are adding new fees. The IT fee was added a few years back. Pay to play was added.

volunteer 4 years, 8 months ago

I always wondered how Eudora could pay its teachers so much better than other schools of its size in this area, plus not charge textbook fees. For a while I thought it was due to putting up with an old high school, but then they built a new one.

Even the names of the schools mentioned in the article sound "progressive" if not downright Orwellian: Community Learning Center (no longer serves students, what's up with that?), Early Childhood Family Center.

Well, every other area school district I know of charges some "user fees," so welcome to the club, Eudora.

crazyredneckmomma4 4 years, 8 months ago

What happens when low income families with multiple children can pay? This is just another way Eudora is discriminating against the poor.

LogicMan 4 years, 8 months ago

An enrollment fee for public school? Doesn't sound constitutional.

Or private schools in their district should now be able to get their fair share of the public school funds.

1southernjayhawk 4 years, 8 months ago

If you can require that people purchase personal health insurance why can't you require that people pay for a miniscule part of the cost of their public education? We'll see what happens.

avoice 4 years, 8 months ago

As someone has already pointed out above, most area school districts have had enrollment fees in place for many years. And how would this be "unconstitutional"? The language of our State constitution does not specifically define the extent of public funding (i.e., there is no language demanding 100% taxpayer funding of our public education). And I don't recall learning about any language in the Bill of Rights or amendments to the U.S. Constitution outlining funding sources for public education.

tomatogrower 4 years, 8 months ago

But I bet you'd be the first to whine about paying more taxes. It's either fees or more taxes. If you want to support public schools, then contact your reps in Topeka. If not, then homeschool your kids.

kansasmutt 4 years, 8 months ago

Don’t let them fool you. They are going to beg for a 3% mill increase or more, thats allready in the pipeline . They are still going ahead with the multi million dollar sports complex ( and more ) . They forgot to figure in upkeep and what it cost to run the new school they just built, so now that has to be added to the HUGE tax burden on the people of Eudora. It will put school taxes over $2,000.00 a year on a $115,000.00 home. Aint life grand !!!!!!!!! The whole school board needs to go and get a group of business savvy people to run it , and save the educational stuff being cut. The board now just cares about the pretty schools and not educating the kids and ready them to go out into the working world. Taking away the shop classes will be a disaster. I think a fee for education is bogus, but a fee for after school activities (minimal) is justified.

concernedeudoravoter 4 years, 8 months ago

Crazyredneckmomma4 - Families on free lunch will not have to pay any fees. Families on reduced lunch will pay half. The fees will also have a cap on them for families with multiple families. Volunteer - Eudora teacher salaries are not higher than surrounding school districts. A teacher with five to ten years of experience could leave Eudora and go to Baldwin, Lawrence, Wellsville, Desoto, Olathe (and the list goes on and on) and expect a five to ten thousand dollar a year raise. The difficult decisions that the school board made last night (as has been said hundreds of times by posters on this forum) was due to years and years of tax cutting decisions that have been made by the state legislators in Topeka. That is where our frustration must be aimed - to the state Representatives and Senators. Calling Anthony Brown - Go do your job. You say you support public education. Please go and show this to everyone.

Bobo Fleming 4 years, 8 months ago

Here is a interesting weekend project. Take a look at the 1950 grade school building on Mainstreet. Then take a look at the 1970 building. Then take a look at the 2010 building. IT will show how the expectations of what is considered to be a elementary school have changed. I went to school in the 1950 building. Its was new and nice. We had classrooms, a cafeteria and a gym. There was no library. There was no school nurse. Of court their were no computers ect. You went there 8 years, got a decent elementary education, and when on to highschool I am not saying we should go back to that, but if you look at the differnces in the buildings it shows how much more we expect. By the way I would bet the reading a math scores were better in 1950 then now. Everything was pretty basic. No extras.

alotofanswers 4 years, 8 months ago

Interesting that there is such detail about staff positions being cut in the high school and middle school, but no mention of the positions being cut by closing the Early Childhood Center. They are cutting the principal, one teacher, one class room aide, two secretaries, two custodians, and a kitchen manager.

It is atrocious that they are "letting go" a highly qualified medical ed instructor on the Vo-Tech staff and replacing her with a board member's wife who doesn't have a college degree.

The article quotes board members who have been on the board for 10-15 years. Their decisions have obviously contributed to the school district overestimating its capability of managing the sudden growth and expansion. Maybe it is time for them to step down and let someone a little more conservative protect our children's education. Here's an important lesson -- newer, bigger and more expensive doesn't always equate with quality or what's best for our children.

tryandkeepup 4 years, 8 months ago

Do the patrons of the Eudora district not understand that every surrounding district, Lawrence, Tonganoxie, Baldwin, Basehor, Wellsville, Gardner , DeSoto etc. ALL pay an enrollment fee and have for at least 15 years? The cost varies in each district and very few offer any kind of reduction if you have more than one child in school. There are exceptions (students who get free/reduced lunches.) Most districts would be happy to add $50 per student that has been taken by the Legislature by simply charging an enrollment fee. That is not an option except in Eudora....everyone else is cutting teachers, programs, increasing class sizes, not buying new cirriculum.... the lists of cuts being considered are endless. Low income families in the other districts have been paying these fees for years.....Eudora is not discriminating against anyone.

avoice 4 years, 8 months ago

Perhaps it says something about the Eudora school district that they have managed to do just fine over the past 15 years without adding those fees. And perhaps it says something about the other districts that even with the fees they've been charging, they still managed to overspend their budgets and now are crying for money, and they don't even have the option to add this fee, because they've already played that card.

akt2 4 years, 8 months ago

That is right. They are also not charging bus fees, and still offer a shuttle service in addition to the regular bus routes. I predict that enrollment will go down a bit due to families that live close (Desoto, Lawrence) and send their kids to Eudora because there were no fees.

volunteer 4 years, 8 months ago

Concernedeudoravoter: your school district pays its teachers much better than schools OF ITS SIZE IN THIS AREA. Compare its salaries to those of the schools in completes with in sports, for example.

tryandkeepup 4 years, 8 months ago

They have not "overspent their budgets." Each district's administrators and school boards have developed a budget , discussed and rediscussed what they can and cannot fund within that budget , approved and implemented those budgets. Districts then went about the business of educating students. AFTER this process the Kansas Legislature has said they are cutting the amount of per student dollars they agreed to pay. AFTER the school year has begun and AFTER the budgeted monies have been committed. Even the most clever among us would find this challenging. What if you had budgeted your household expenses, being careful not to over extend yourself.....then you walk into work and your employer tells you that you will be paid 25% less from now on and that you could most likely expect another round of salary cuts in the next year. Your careful planning has now gone out the window and you have now "overspent your budget." Yes, districts can cut back on many things...but the school year had begun, they had contract obligations they could not ignore. More importantly, they have students they cannot ignore. Schools are not like other businesses.....they are where we get capable prepared individuals to continue all other future business. Direct your anger/concern where it belongs, in Topeka, at the people we elected. Tell them to do the right thing.

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