Archive for Monday, February 8, 2010

Cuts cause pain across the state

February 8, 2010


School board searching for alternatives

The Lawrence School Board is trying to find ways to cut nearly $5 million from the budget. The board does not want to close schools or lay off teachers, but says there are no easy choices left. Enlarge video

As Lawrence school board members are determining how to cut an estimated $4 million to $5 million before next school year because of the state’s fiscal crisis, the pain is universal across the state.

“I don’t know if anybody’s got the magic answer yet,” said Dale Dennis, a state deputy education commissioner.

Districts will likely have to cut $300 million more statewide for next school year, Dennis said.

Options for Lawrence board members include raising the student-teacher ratio and even closing elementary schools, which has sparked protests from many parents and community members.

Barbara Fuller, the Wichita school board president, said the state’s largest district is looking at $20 million in cuts for next year.

Reducing the number of administrators, schools counselors, teaching jobs and programs are all on the table, but she said one option has been missing from the discussion.

“I don’t foresee us having to close buildings,” said Fuller, a retired elementary school teacher.

Because of increasing enrollment, the Manhattan school district likely won’t close any schools, said Michele Jones, a district spokeswoman.

The district has formed a 33-member committee that includes parents and community members to explore how to make cuts from $1.5 million to $3.4 million. “As we get community members and parents involved, you see it through another set of eyes, and they ask questions that we don’t even think about asking anymore,” Jones said.

Parents involved with Save Our Neighborhood Schools in Lawrence have criticized board members and administrators for not involving the community more during the budget process.

The Lawrence district will have four budget forums in the next month — 7 p.m. Tuesday at South Junior High School, 2734 La.; 7 p.m. Feb. 15 at Southwest Junior High School, 2511 Inverness Drive; 7 p.m. March 1 at Central Junior High School, 1400 Mass.; and 7:30 p.m. March 2 at West Junior High School, 2700 Harvard Road.


gabreilgael8 8 years, 4 months ago

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love2bike 8 years, 4 months ago

Maybe Mike O'Neal should file a suit against the state legislature for not funding schools properly.

Bob Burton 8 years, 4 months ago

Why do not the schools go to a 4 day week?? Cut every bodys pay by 20%.. I went through that for about a year @ King Radio.. No body got laid off!! Did it hurt, Hell YES, but we survived.. Close the buildings Friday, Saturday & Sunday to cut back on the heat & cooling cost..

gccs14r 8 years, 4 months ago

Teachers, teaching materials, and classrooms should be the last things to cut. How about ditching all 300 local school districts and have everything centralized in Topeka? At least then there would be some curriculum standardization and economy of scale WRT textbooks. It shouldn't matter if a kid lives in Goodland or Overland Park, the quality of his education and the things he is taught (and when they are taught) should be the same.

gccs14r 8 years, 4 months ago

"Cut every bodys pay by 20%.."

We already can't keep teachers. Do you really want people in the classroom who are doing the job only because they can't land a better gig? That may save a few dollars in the short term, but it'll kill the state long-term. Maybe that's why all those western Kansas legislators are collectively as dumb as a post.

love2bike 8 years, 4 months ago

For several years, the state has been facing a budget "crisis" but have hidden it by sweeping funds from the fee accounts and short-changing the schools. They have given big tax breaks to corporations (e.g. STAR bonds, other "eco devo" inducements, tax breaks, and minor enforcement of existing tax law for corporations). The Republicans (because they have been "in charge") have not stepped up to the plate and asked the hard questions. They have done what it takes to get re-elected - no new taxes for the voters and tax breaks to corporations for their support in the election.

kansasmutt 8 years, 4 months ago

Most districts have empty or outdated buildings they are holding onto, so SELL them. Charge a bit more for sports events.Go back to the one classroom , For grades K-6th 1 teacher and 2 (free) aids per grade. This would also give 1 teacher the duty of teaching a student all year long, not 5 teachers in 5 classrooms with 12 kids and changing rooms every hour.Combine districts in the smaller towns. Put Baldwin, Eudora,Linwood,Overbrook , Lecompton and Perry all together. That alone would save millions.Yes the ideas above would cut staff by 40% but thats how you learn to be smart and teach our kids better.

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