There are 16 items in on a list that will be cut from the next USD 373 budget. That list was received by Board of Education members as part of their meeting packet for a budget that is not yet complete.
“All of those things will happen,” said Deb Hamm, superintendent of schools for USD 373. “ How deeply we go down the rest of the list will depend of a variety of factors that we do not know yet.”
Those 16 items, ranging from an opening speaker for a convocation to a ½ time Spanish teaching position, total $260,694 in budget reduction. Hamm told The Kansan administration is working with a target of $600,000 in reductions for the next budget year. That total may changed, based on other fixed expenses and the use of year-end balances.
To get there, the district would have to move down an additional 15 to 17 items on the budget reduction ranking list distributed Friday. Those reductions would include C Team Baseball at the high school, tutoring salaries, technology replacements and secretarial positions.
The list, aside from the first first 16 items, is still able to be changed.
“We are really just beginning the journey,” said Russell Miller, assistant superintendent of finance for the district.
Cuts are coming because of a flat funding — the district will receive no new operational funds under block grant funding from the state. At the same time, fixed costs are increasing. At the most recent board meeting June 27, Miller told the board to maintain current healthcare coverage for employees, the district would see a minimum of a 20 percent increase in expense. Some companies showed increases of nearly 50 percent, and joining the state plans would have been an increase of 50 to 60 percent. Miller said total premiums could go up more than $600,000, depending on what decisions the district makes on health care coverage for employees.
Also at play are increased utility costs and increased salary costs. Negotiations with teachers is not complete — making that cost increase another wildcard.
“We have to estimate where that might end up,” Miller said. “We know what movement on the salary schedule will cost.”
However, he said, it is unknown if there will be an increase to the base salary
Due to delays caused by a special session of the state legislature to discuss school funding in response to a supreme court ruling, much of the outside support for the district budget creation has been delayed. The district expects budgeting software from the Kansas Department of Education as early as next week. Budget workshops, normally already complete, may be completed by district staff July 26.
“At least we know where we are with school finance settled for this year,” Miller said.
Miller said the target for a budget presentation for the board is Aug. 8.
The 16 cuts
First aid supply replacement contract $900
Axtell building lease $9,500
Change new maintenance hires to 8-hour positions $30,582
Do not replace one cleaning position $32,000
Crisis manager $10,812
Professional development $10,000
ELL Coordinator $2,500
VPL support and maintenance $32,000
Replace desktops with laptops $41,600
Instructional media $9,000
Reduce transportation of Med Science program $6,000
Reduce ½ Spanish teacher $17,000
Overload reduction $40,000
Teacher support for CBL math $4,200
Reduce driver (already done) $14,000
Opening speaker $5,000