Archive for Thursday, January 20, 2011

USD 348 officials react to possible state budget cuts

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback shakes hands with onlookers as he leaves the House chambers after his State Of State address, on Wednesday January 12, 2011.

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback shakes hands with onlookers as he leaves the House chambers after his State Of State address, on Wednesday January 12, 2011.

January 20, 2011

Paul Dorathy wasn’t shocked with news of the governor recommended state cuts to education for this year or next year. In fact, he feels prepared for the looming budget cuts.

The USD 348 superintendent just didn’t know how much might be taken out of the 2010-2011 or 2011-2012 budgets. On Thursday, newly sworn-in Gov. Sam Brownback announced his proposed budget.

Brownback’s proposal slashes nearly $140,000 for this year and about $290,000 next school year, according to the Kansas State Department of Education.

“None of this came as a surprise,” Dorathy said. “We have expected this to happen. The federal stimulus money was going away, which left a big hole to fill, so we knew this was probably going to happen.”

Brownback has proposed cutting base state aid from $4,012 per student to $3,780 per student, a drop of $232 per student or 5.8 percent. If approved by the Legislature, base state aid would be at its lowest level since 1999-2000.

This year’s state aid per pupil would be cut $75, reducing the base from $4,012 to $3,937. The second cut would be for next year’s budget, and it would be a decrease of $157 per pupil, causing the base to drop to $3,780.

“His proposal would cut our budget this year by $137,955,” Dorathy said. “That is the 2010-2011 budget. It’s specifically because of the assessed valuation across the state of Kansas went down. There was an increase in at-risk students and enrollment across the state, too. Those three things combined to cause the proposed $75 cut per pupil this year. Next year’s reduction of $157 per pupil would cut $288,786. That’s based on our enrollment, which is 1,352 FTE students.”

Dorathy said the budget could get complicated.

“I do want to caution people not to just take 1,352 and multiply it by the per pupil base, because they won’t come out with that amount of dollars,” he said. “You have to add the weightings, which include at-risk, special education and transportation. There are a whole bunch of weightings that you have to add, so 1,352 doesn’t work. The number is closer to 1,700.”

If Brownback’s proposed budget is approved, USD 348 will be forced to slash its budget once again. While many other districts across the state are worried about the cuts, Dorathy said USD 348 would mostly likely be in good standing if cut this year.

“Last spring the board made some cuts in the district,” Dorathy said. “Part of the reason to do that was to plan for a potential cut in the middle of the school year.

“If we were not able to cover it with that, we also have the new facilities weighting, which gets us by temporarily. It only lasts two years, so we could only use it temporarily.”

The additional budget cut next year could be offset by the savings proposed from closing Marion Springs and Vinland elementary schools. The district plans to save about $420,000 by consolidating the four elementary schools into two next year.

“Depending on what happens with the state, we may or may not be able to do some of the things we wanted to do,” Dorathy said. “That was always based on trying to put some things back in. If they cut us like they are proposing, we won’t be able to do all of the things we had wanted to do next year.”


Torch 7 years, 4 months ago

Kansas has been using Federal stimulus money to prop up the education system. Would have been nice to use that to - you know - stimulate instead.

On top of that they raised sales tax to raise even more money to shovel at the bloated system.

And our educators cry about needing even more.


Julie Craig 7 years, 4 months ago

How is it logical that eliminating jobs in small communities will lead to gains in our economy? That is what the budget cuts will do. End of story.


BaldwinDad 7 years, 4 months ago

You have to remember Great that every dollar that our State Govt spends means that there is technically three dollars less in the local state economy.

If this confuses you let me explain why. The Government has to collect it, then figure out where to spend it, then distribute it and then have to monitor it to make sure it's spent correctly. This means that if they spend $1,000 dollars it cost the local community that receives it roughly $3,000 in taxation.

Government spending in any form will do nothing but take more money out of your local economy. The Government cannot generate continued job growth and economic stability in any area, it's a fallacy pushed on the public by the media and Government to allow them to continue growing in size and power.


Julie Craig 7 years, 4 months ago

BaldwinDad - I think you are over-simplifying this. But you, apparently, want to be an island all by yourself. I am not confused about the cost of government. I will agree to disagree that public schools are important to small towns, and to OUR town.

Call me old fashioned, but I believe in school pride. I believe a good school system can attract new people to live here. (OK - cue the God Bless America soundtrack)

I'm not convinced that you know how the school budgeting process works, or how important our schools are to the health of Baldwin.


BaldwinDad 7 years, 4 months ago

This has nothing to do with school budgeting , it has to do with the inefficiency of Govt and the fact that for the last 30 years our schools have been in decline in this country.

I too believe in school pride and want our schools to be the best in the state, but that is only going to come about if the community want's it and not because the state is going to throw less or more money at the issue. All the Govt has done is cause a steady decline in the overall educational experience.

You can keep believing that some group of people siting in rooms hundreds and even thousand of miles away from our little town will know what's best for our schools, but the bottom line is that private and charter schools have shown time and time again they can do better with less money then public. The reason for this is less Govt interference and the staff feel more invested in what they are doing so therefore are able to do more for the students.


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