BOE approves program budgeting




The USD 457 Board of Education approved the district's program budget recommendations on Monday night.

Board members unanimously approved the recommendations made by the district's financial officer, KJ Knoll, who said that overall, the district needed $625,000 in cuts to balance next year's budget.

"As you know, recent legislation that has been signed is financially beneficial to the district. Unfortunately, we are in the final year — year two — of our new facilities weighting, so we will be losing $1.9 million of funding that we have received over the past two years," Knoll said.

According to the Kansas Department of Education, USD 457 is projected to get approximately $1,943,251 in additional funding from the recently signed school finance law.

-al funding from the recently signed school finance law.

"The net of those two numbers, while it does create a net positive gain in financial revenue for next year, when we put the pieces of the budget puzzle together for next year, we find ourselves needing approximately $625,000 in additional funding to balance the budget," Knoll said.

Knoll recommended 2 percent cuts that translate into the following dollar amounts in cuts for the following programs: $16,527, curriculum assessment; $38,790, district-wide administration; $107,183, plant facilities/maintenance; $42,868, transportation; $18,732, activities; $27,354, counseling; $22,326, media services; $48,854, supplemental services; $82,441, building administration; and $219,896, special education.

That list is prioritized in reverse order, so that should additional funding become available, the ones at the bottom of the list will either take less of a cut or no cuts at all.

"If, as we put the budget together, we have better information that tells us we have additional funding or possibly the expenses aren't as much as we anticipate that they will be, then yes, the first thing to be put back at 100 percent or not fully cut through its program will be special education and (then we would) move up through the list," Knoll said.

Other items on the list that will be fully funded for the 2014-15 school year are high school instruction, middle school instruction, elementary instruction, health services and technology.

Board member Mark Rude asked if any of the cuts affect classroom funding.

"From classroom funding, the special education piece removes one special education certified position and seven classified paras in special education," Knoll said, adding that two paras also were removed from the cut in supplemental services.

Board President Tom Blackburn said that the program budgeting process gives the board good feedback on which direction the community, teachers and administration want it to go, in terms of prioritizing the way the monies available are spent.

"I feel strongly that we recognize and support this process that is way more community involvement than you see in any other districts," Blackburn said.

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