Budget woes discussed
At a gathering last Thursday, about 20 De Soto USD 232 patrons voiced support for protecting current academic programs and extra-curricular activities from expected budget cuts.
The community budget meeting at Mill Creek Middle School focused on informing community members on what could happen if cuts are made to the state budget for education and what actions the district has put in place to lessen the blow of any cuts.
De Soto Superintendent Sharon Zoellner lead the discussion and told the patrons what had been proposed by the state government, so far — a $22 dollar cut off base state aid per pupil for the current fiscal year ending June 30, 2009, and a $66 per pupil for the next fiscal year.
Zoellner said adjustments could be made to the current budget without too much harm to the district if Gov. Kathleen Sebelius’ plan for the current budget year was adopted. However, dramatic cuts could be coming for 2009-2010.
Patrons in the audience made it clear that the academic and extra-curricular activities should be protected if cuts were to be made.
The group discussed the possibility of suspending utilities after school, cutting the week to four days and larger class sizes.
It was suggested that the district should provide equal protection for fine art and sports, as to protecting foreign language classes.
Chris Akin, Shawnee, said that De Soto’s Kansas PTA Region 6 would be teaming up with the Shawnee Mission KPTA Region 8 to visit elected officials in Topeka to learn more about officials self-interests and concerns.
Taking notes on the suggestions and considerations voiced at the meeting was district community relations director Alvie Cater, director of community relations for the district. The information from the meeting will be shared with the district’s budget review committee.
The committee is made up of 30 key stakeholders from local business owners, the districts booster club, students, teachers, principals, parents, administrators, support staff and community members.
The committee’s goal is to find efficiencies and provide guidance for the district. The committee will make a presentation to the USD 232 Board of Education in May to discuss findings.