District feels budget-cut pinch again
With the latest round of budget cuts from the state, the Baldwin School District will lose $359,944 from this year’s budget on top of the $310,000 already lost. Unfortunately, that’s not the worst of it, said Supt. Paul Dorathy.
“The bad thing is I don’t think we’re done yet,” said Dorathy. “I think it’s going to get deeper and deeper. It’s going to ultimately change education in Baldwin City significantly.”
That’s Dorathy’s outlook after Gov. Mark Parkinson announced $259 million in state budget cuts last week because of continuing revenue problems. Education was earmarked for $36 million in cuts, which trickled down to Baldwin City’s $359,944.
“That’s our cut,” said Dorathy. “Yeah, ouch. Our challenge is that it is this year’s budget cuts, not next year’s. It’s now.”
He said it will mean personnel losses, although it won’t mean teachers and administrators, who are on 12-month contracts. They can’t be cut. Staff can.
“I think after all the cuts we made last year, I don’t know how we can’t look at personnel,” he said. “I do believe we’re going to have to cut some people.
“We will be looking at people who are not on contract and programs,” said Dorathy. “This will be a real challenge to make that significant of a cut half way through the school year.”
It won’t be the first round of personnel cuts. He said around eight positions were eliminated from the district this year.
“Yes, we did have to let some people go,” said Dorathy, adding that there isn’t really anywhere else to cut. “Oh, yeah, personnel ends up being the largest part of our budget.
“Heat, electricity, sewer all have to be paid,” he said. “There aren’t a lot of places we can cut. It comes down to personnel and we will have to make some cuts.”
Where those cuts will be made is already under review.
“I met with the administrative team (Tuesday) to see what we can do,” he said. “We were analyzing positions. It will be several positions. We’re also looking at programs and supply items. We’ll be reallocating or living without supplies.”
It’s not like the district hasn’t been through the process and more. The most recent example he gave was that the district only received half of its state aid — what it lives on, pays bills and salaries with — on Nov. 1. The second-half check hasn’t arrived yet and Dorathy hopes it’s here this week. But November is over.
“They haven’t even talked about the December payment,” he said. “The state has got real revenue issues. They can’t pay their bills.”
Dorathy wasn’t sure when the personnel cuts will be made, but it will be soon.
“I think we will be making some moves by the Dec. 14 (school) board meeting,” he said.