Archive for Thursday, April 28, 2005

Budget axe misses

April 28, 2005

As the deadline approaches for the budget, the USD 348 school board decided that it will not look to cut teacher's jobs at its meeting on Monday night.

"The specific purpose for this meeting was to identify if there were going to be any notice of non-renewal for our certified teachers," School Board President Ed Schulte said. "That needed to be done by May 1, so we were just reviewing our information."

The other part of Monday's meeting was to discuss possible budget scenarios and different ways to cut next year's budget.

Supt. James White presented the board with a list of budget considerations for next year. The considerations included facilities, technology, vehicles and teachers.

On the facilities list was the track north of Baldwin High School, which White thought would be a good idea.

"There are savings and safety issues we need to look at for next year," White said of the track.

Another outlay of money would go toward purchasing 96 iBooks for the elementary and junior high schools. One reason for this was the state assessments and being able to see the results very quickly.

"Almost as soon as the kids are done with the tests, we can see the results," said Baldwin Junior High School Principal Connie Wright. "We can have results almost instantly."

The consideration sheet also had information and numbers for the general fund, local-option budget and capital outlay.

The LOB is currently at 25 percent, but the Kansas Legislature is trying to raise it to 27 percent to raise more money for education.

School Board Member Allison Bauer was opposed to raising the LOB.

"I don't think raising the LOB is a good idea," Bauer said. "It's way too much."

The capital outlay brought up a little discussion with the board, because it would have to raise the mill levy.

School Board Member Scott Lauridsen said he wanted to see a plan before he was for raising the mills.

"I'd like to have a view of what the district wants to do three to five years down the road, then go get the funds," Lauridsen said.

Another topic of discussion was the possibility of delaying the math book adoption. The elementary school administrators said they would support the delay if the money could be used for something else.

"The teachers teach the standards, not only through the textbook, but through the resources they have gathered," said Deb Ehling-Gwin, Baldwin Elementary School Primary Center Principal. "The really only affect would be on a new teacher, and I have none of those in my building next year."

White's consideration list also included not replacing the BHS activities director and the BHS counselor, both who are retiring in the spring. The activities director responsibilities would be split between Marion Springs Elementary School Principal Gus Wegner and Vinland Elementary School Principal Bill Scott.

This consideration list by White did not include the cutting of the curriculum director, which was in another consideration list.

The next school board meeting will be at 7 p.m. on May 9 at the District Office.

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