USD 367 Will Absorb Cuts Without Firing Staff

By Jeff Gulley

Osawatomie USD 367 will be forced to cut about $421,000 from its budget by 2012 after the state budget’s passing last week, but the district will be able to cut funds without firing staff.

Superintendent Gary French said Monday that through careful planning, spending and utility usage, the district will be able to absorb the latest round of state cuts. The budget slashes state aid this year by $75 per student and another $157 next year. The cuts are applied to the full-time equivalent at the district. French said this year the cut would equal about $132,000 with another $13,000 lost due to adjustments in the FTE this year. Next year’s cut will leave the district $276,000 in the hole.

“We were expecting and planning for the cut this year,” French said. “We knew when the governor released his budget that there were going to be cuts. The legislature’s plans all had this year’s cuts about the same so we have been working for a while on dealing with this year. It was next year that we were not sure about.”

This year’s budget cut will be made up in a variety of ways including saving about $50,000 in utility costs over what was budgeted and some tightening of the belt.

“Since January we have cut spending down to a minimum,” French said. “One other area that we are saving in is food service. Last year we transferred $33,000 to food service. This year there has been no transfers and they have $9,000 in their account. It’s always been Kay’s (Minden) goal to be self sufficient.”

Next year’s deficit was more of a challenge.

“It’s hard to cut that much from the budget without cutting personnel,” French said. “We stalled and stalled while hearing what was going on in other districts. It’s not a pleasant thing to cut teachers that don’t deserve it. That affects the economy as well.”

While each building in the district will be down in staff, no current staff member will be let go. Through resignations and retirements, the district will shuffle staff and cover without cuts.

Some of the moves include not replacing Marilyn Cook who is retiring as a kindergarten teacher.

“Our kindergarten roundup numbers were down,” French said. “As long as we don’t have a lot more at enrollment, we will only need four kindergarten teachers. Our preschool numbers are up so we think this is just a one-year trend.”

At Trojan Elementary, all grades will have four teachers. Fourth-grade teacher Wade Welch will become the gifted teacher and Cindy Higdon will move to special education.

The high school will be down one and a half spots. They will not replace Charles Baker or Brian Masoner after they resigned. Heather Adams will move from half time to full time as an English teacher.

Swenson will be down one teaching position from last year and the middle school will lose a half position.



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Posted by admin on May 18 2011. Filed under News and Updates. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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