Archive for Thursday, December 3, 2009

Latest cuts to cost USD 232 nearly $2 million

December 3, 2009

De Soto USD 232 administrators are working to address “drastic” cuts in state aid to public schools announced last week by Kansas Gov. Mark Parkinson.

The cuts are expected to decrease De Soto USD 232’s budget approximately $1.9 million.

De Soto USD 232 Superintendent Ron Wimmer, finance director Ken Larsen and human resources director Mark Schmidt are putting together a plan to deal with the cuts to share Monday with the Board of Education.

Meantime, Wimmer is working to ease fears of teachers, parents and students.

“We are working very hard to maintain a sense of clam and strategic reaction so that we do not negatively impact the climate of our school district,” he said. “We still have teachers who need to be uplifted every day and have enough to focus on to maximize their efforts without having to worry about whether we will have financial support to take care of them day to day.

“We are working hard everyday to make positive changes and we are feeling positive about the results we are achieving. In spite of the challenges we will rise above to do our job,” Wimmer said.

Wimmer’s plan will be forwarded to the USD 232 Board of Education in advance of Monday’s meeting, said Alvie Cater, USD 232 director of communications.

Already, Cater said, the district has put in place restrictions on hiring.

“If it’s an absolutely essential position we’ll hire, but if not we’ll leave it open,” he said.

Cater said another idea was to pay maintenance workers’ salaries out of the capital outlay fund, rather than the general fund, where the cuts will be taking place.

The district could also recoup some savings if with a mild winter reduces heating costs, Cater said.

Parkinson last week cut $191.8 million from K through 12 education, part of state cuts totaling nearly $260 million.

The governor’s announcement marked the fourth set of budget cuts to state education funding since March 2009. Before the latest round of cuts were announced, the state faced a nearly $260 million deficit for the current fiscal year, which began July 1.

The cuts will impact the state’s public schools in two ways, first, $36 million will be cut from public school budgets. In addition, the state will not fund the additional $155.8 million in increased costs for schools. The increased costs were prompted by higher enrollment and a growing demand for free lunches.

The governor’s latest cuts again decrease the base state aid per pupil to $4,012, down $206 from the beginning of the fiscal year. Base state aid per pupil began at $4,433 this year, and has been decreased three times.

Combined with earlier cuts, De Soto USD 232 has seen its state aid cut nearly $3.5 million for the current school year.

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