USD 480 looking to lose nearly $1.8 million in state funding By JESSICA CRAWFORD • Daily Leader
Due to current state budget problems, it is imperative that USD No.
480 make some cuts in the 2009-10 budget. However, with concerns such an economic downturn would occur, cuts should be minor and not include staff, according to business and finance director Jerry Clay.
The Senate has proposed a budget of $27,268,736, for USD 480. The House wants USD 480 to work with $26,982,032. Sometime this month, the two branches of government must meet in the middle in order to agree upon a final number.
At this point, Clay has arranged a plan that will lower the 2009-10 budget by $1,781,354 without cutting staff.
“The Senate’s new number is $27,268,736,” Clay explained. “They increased the cut by an additional quarter of a percent. Now it is going to the House to see if they will accept that. This is just USD 480’s budget.
“House Bill 2373 passed the Senate on a vote of 21 to 17 to reduce
K-12 education an additional 2.7 percent for the schools in 2010 throughout the state on May 5,” he continued. “There was a motion to cut by 3.5 percent but it failed by a vote of 17 to 22.”
Where does such money come from when it was planned for in the past but is no longer avasilable? Clay feels he has arranged a plan that will cut the budget without disrupting the education of the students throughout the district.
“The general fund this year was 28,033,280, they are asking us to go down to 27,268,736,” he said. “We agreed to a two year contract with our teachers so that second year pay raise cost an additional $640,060 so we know that I have to find that much money in next year’s budget.
“So there is $764,544 less money for next year that we will have,” he continued. “We, the board of education, has agreed to a certified pay raise for the certified teachers of $640,060. Coming to the board of education May 18 meeting will be a raise of classified and administration which could total 376,750.”
These raises will cost the district and obviously the money has to come from somewhere. Not to mention the money that would have normally been there for new textbooks, technology and even a new school bus.
“So what that means is USD 480 will have to reduce this year’s budget by $1,781,354, so how are we going to find that?” he asked. “Our enrollment increased in 08-09 and we budgeted because we had more students show up. If those students come back 09-10 we will get that additional $480,384. So there is $480,384 of it.
“We will trim what we get in textbooks next year by $200,000, technology by $200,000, technology software by $60,000, technology supplies by $100,000, instructional supplies we budgeted higher last year because of oil prices and everything was higher. So because they have dropped, we believe we can find $250,000 in electricity in heating due to lower oil prices.
“We were going to buy a new school bus – we won’t buy it,” he added.
“Fuel last year, when we did our budget, was $3.85 a gallon, today’s fuel is around two bucks a gallon so we can save another $30,000 there. We will reduce our capital outlay transfer, we will reduce our inservice transfer. That is how we will find that $1,781,354.”
The fear of cutting staff is currently not an issue, Clay said.
However, he has a plan just in case it comes to that point.
“We have made cuts without touching staff,” he said. “If cuts continue, staff will have to become part of the picture. We are trying to do it today without looking at staff. We feel we need to keep our teachers, our custodians, our paras and all of that to teach the kids. That’s our purpose, to educate the students of USD 480. How do you educate? You educate with staff.”
If staff must be cut, Clay said if at all possible, positions teachers have resigned or retired from, will not be filled.
“If we have to start cutting staff, we would look at people that have turned in their resignations that are leaving USD 480,” he explained.
“We would look at not filling those positions if we could be able to do that. Unless they are special needs like English, math and science.
“If you lose a specific science teacher at the high school, and we are not, I am just using this as an example, you still have to have a science teacher for next year,” he said. “If you lose a second grade teacher, you could take the kids that were in that second grade classroom and distribute them across the rest of the district so your class size goes up but you still have teachers that can teach those kids.”
Jerry Clay feels very confident at this point that cuts will not touch staff. He stressed how important it is to educate the children of USD 480, and without staff, he understands how difficult or even impossible, that would be.