Board sets levy for same amount as last year
The School Board, in a special Budget Session, reviewed the several budgets prepared by Superintendent, Stan Kress and District Clerk, Denise Uhlenkott. The Board reviewed a status quo budget, which would require an override levy of more than $375,000. However, Superintendent Kress pointed out that the district lost 47 students this year from the previous year, and that loss will cost the district 1.7 classroom units of state funding. This situation, in addition to the already meager state funds authorized again this year, will create a serious funding issue for the district. He also reminded the Board that the salary schedules for all employees have remained frozen the last three years. However, the Legislature did some weird things with the State Salary Schedules for next year, mandating a $2,500 raise for new teachers, leaving no money available for experienced teachers.
Kress offered two alternative budgets: The first, cutting 1 and 2/3rds teachers from the Budget, bringing the budget needs down to a little more than $305,000. The second alternative budget also cut 20% from the high school; middle school, elementary school and district office supply budgets bringing the shortfall down to just under $267,000. When asked, Kress said he was certain he could find a few more small areas to cut and keep the levy amount the same as last year, namely $263,000.
The Board wants the public to know if the proposed levy of $263,000 is approved, which is the same amount as last year, that things won’t be the same. One and 2/3rds teachers will be cut from the staff, and a 20% cut in the Textbooks, Materials and Supply Budgets will mean fewer resources to meet the new State Standards and the Federal, No Child Left Behind regulations. However, considering the tough economic times, the Board approved all of the above cuts and directed that another $4,000 be taken from the budget so that the levy could be kept at $263,000 again this year.
A Community meeting will be held during May, in addition to informational articles from the School Board Members, designed to inform the patrons of their decision, alternatives, and consequences regarding the levy.
In a separate item, Mr. Kress noted several rumors that are circulating in the District: One, “if things are so tight, where did we get the money for a new drivers’ ed. car?” Answer: We didn’t buy a new car. The old car quit running and to continue the program, we rented a car using the Driver’s Education Funds, which doesn’t come from local tax dollars. Two, “why is the girl’s softball team traveling so far?” Answer: Two years ago the team raised a bunch of money to attend a tournament in Florida, which was never taken due to the terrorist crisis situation at the time, and they are using those funds to cover expenses related to softball trips.