District still looking at ways to save money
The Baldwin School District will still be looking at ways to save even though the Kansas Legislature recently approved an increase in taxes that will give schools a $20 per pupil increase.
"It really doesn't help us a lot," Supt. James White said of the state's $250 million tax increase. "It allows the state to get out of the budget cuts they were in. It helps them with the cash flow problems and increased ongoing costs for the fiscal year 2002-2003."
The district will be receiving $3,890 per pupil in state funding for the 2002-2003 school year, which is up from this year's state aid of $3,870 per pupil.
White said while the district is pleased money is not being cut from the budget, the $20 increase per student, which totals an additional $27,000 for next year's budget, is not enough.
"That'll help a little bit," he said. "But we still anticipate an increase in costs more than $27,000. That $27,000 is a lot nicer than having to cut the budget in a lot of places, but it's certainly not a windfall either.
"But it could have been much more drastic," he said. "We're thankful from that standpoint."
Because the state funding will not cover the expected increase in costs, White said the district will be looking at ways to save money but without cutting programs or personnel or increasing user fees, textbook fees or meal prices.
"The board took the position back in March, when other districts were looking at cuts, that they didn't want to make those decisions unless they had to," he said. "We all feel strongly that we have some outstanding programs and outstanding personnel in our district.
"We chose to wait out the legislature and hope that we wouldn't have to make those significant cuts," he said. "I think it's come to pass that we won't have to make those cuts in programs or personnel."
White said the district will delay the purchase of athletic uniforms, band instruments and a new school bus for at least one year to help the district's budget.
He said the district will also look at changes in the operation of staff because of retirements.
"Overall, we'll continue to look at as many saving options as we can to allow us to adjust the current framework of our budget," he said.