LARNED — The Fort Larned USD 495 board of education has approved proactive cost-savings measures that will reduce the district’s budget at least $250,000 for the 2011-2012 school year.
Fort Larned Superintendent Jon Flint said the cost-cutting measures are prudent considering Governor Sam Brownback, the Kansas Senate and House have proposed cutting the base state aid per pupil (BSAPP). The BSAPP is the primary financial piece that districts build their budget on. The exact amount of state aid can be changed by weighting components such as at-risk, bilingual education, low and declining enrollment and special education and related services.
The current BSAPP is $4,012, but proposals for the next two years would slice $75 in the next year and between $157 and $250 in the second year. Larned will lose between $214,000 and $248,000 in budget authority the next two years. The BSAPP figure could be as low as $3,762 in two years under the House proposal.
Flint said the legislature will determine the final BSAPP figure in May, but the board has prepared for the worst-case scenario.
“There is much concern about funding, Our board has been very conscientious. Our proposals have been developed for the worst situation that would happen,” Flint said. “Dropping school funding is not promoting economic growth because people will lose jobs,. Putting more students in classes is not productive.”
Flint said the legislature has struggled with defining a suitable education.
“The best-case would be that the legislature would figure out what a suitable education is and fund it at that level,” Flint said.
Flint said State Senator Allen Schmidt has shown he will be a strong proponent of backing a suitable education, but not enough legislators appear to be on that page.
Most of the cost savings will come through personnel reductions, although so far only two current employees won’t be rehired in their current positions.
Flint said Wayne Morrow, Larned athletic director, will be shifted to an assistant principal position at Larned High School and share athletic director duties with the middle school principal. Larned High assistant principal Rick Blosser won’t be rehired. Morrow was shifted under the district’s reduction in personnel policy which awards points for service time, college hours, certified areas to teach and employee evaluation.
A library position will be eliminated. A director of library staffer will take on the additional duties.
Retiring employees are vocational-technology teachers John Holt and Glen Presley; Rod Bauer, history and government; and Jerald Hadley, biology.
Flint said a middle school math teacher and fifth-grade teacher won’t be replaced. Three other elementary teachers will leave the district.
Other proposals would save money, but have not been approved.
Technology purchases may be adjusted. Ipods or Ipads may be purchased rather than more expensive laptops in technology classes.
Energy-efficient replacements will help, such as energy-efficient windows, computer-controlled climate control and boiler replacement at Phinney School.
A possible split-block schedule could cut planning periods for teachers to 45 minutes, allowing mini-courses classes.
Expansion of cooperative agreements for activities and interactive or on-line courses with other districts may help.