Archive for Thursday, February 19, 2009

USD 491 makes budget cuts

February 19, 2009

In an effort to continue its goal of being proactive in the face of impending — and possibly drastic – budget cuts, the Eudora USD 491 Board of Education cut $53,600 from its budget at a meeting Thursday.

The cuts included canceling the contract with the Curriculum Leadership Institute and discontinuing the practice of having all teachers attend the new teacher inductions.

“There’s just no possible way not to be impacted by what’s happening,” Superintendent Don Grosdidier said. “Any thought that this can be solved by becoming more efficient is naïve, at the least. So, we have to work hard and be very creative to minimize the impact.”

Various cuts have been discussed at the state level, including a $66 cut in per pupil state aid, which would mean a decrease in the 2008-2009 budget of about $191,000.

Various state agencies also have been told to prepare for possible cuts between 10 to 18 percent.

Cuts of those amounts would mean a decrease of about $1.2 million or $2.1 million, respectively.

During the meeting, Grosdidier remarked that there appear to be any action taken at the state level to improve revenues, but just cut budgets.

“The good news is that the good things that have gone on in our buildings for several years now are continuing,” Grosdidier said. “The bad news is that’s all threatened.”

Another measure the board will look into is moving the credit recovery program, and the culinary arts and health and career sciences programs associated with the Eudora-De Soto Technical Center to Nottingham Elementary School next fall. NES will be vacant because of the opening of the new Eudora Elementary School and Eudora West Early Childhood Family Center. The district also would hear offers from groups who would like to lease the CLC gym.

The move could save the district about $27,000 in utilities and maintenance.

The Eudora National Education Association also submitted to the board a list of possible cuts. The cuts are being researched.

“The board and I applaud the teacher’s efforts for being part of this,” Grosdidier said. “To get through this, it’s going to take a team approach and we’ve said that from the very beginning. Even at the state level, that’s the process that needs to happen.”

And though it wasn’t cut, the drivers education program no longer will be free.

The board approved cost of $200 for district students and a cost of $300 for out of district students taking drivers’ education classes. Classes in Lawrence cost $280.

“One of the great things about this district is that we’ve been able to offer a free public education, but we’re in uncharted territory now,” Grosdidier said.

Grosdidier also said that the deep cuts to the budget likely would cause the district to make some sort of cuts to personnel.

“It’s frustrating because it’s not an efficiency issue, and that’s how the Legislature is treating this,” he said.

Though the cuts by by the board Thursday wouldn’t mean much in the context of a loss of millions of dollars in funding, Grosdidier said the district had to start somewhere.

“It goes back to the old Chinese proverb ‘The journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step.’ I think that’s what we’re in,” he said.

In other actions, the board:

• Decided to move forward in talks with the Eudora Library Board of Directors regarding the library leasing NES next fall. The first step will be to have the library board to evaluate the space with its architect.

Grosdidier also said there were parties interested in discussing a purchase of NES. However, the board is not interested in selling the property because its value will be greater in three to five years.

“A sale of Nottingham at this point in time would be like a fire sale,” Grosdidier said. “That’s not being good stewards of the community’s investments for the future.


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