budget cuts

Eudora Cardinal

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The Eudora School Board has called a special meeting for Wednesday night to talk about budget cuts for the coming school year.  The meeting will take place at the Eudora High School Performing Arts Center. The meeting is set to begin at 7:00 P.M.

According to the agenda published by the School District, Superintendent Steve Splichal will share information about the district budget and options for cuts for the 2015-2016 budget.   The public will have time for comment following the presentation by Splichal.  Unlike most Board meetings, there is no need for prior approval to speak to the board in the public comment section at this meeting.

Following the public comment, Splichal will provide information about the next steps in collecting community feedback and budgeting for the 2015-2016 school year.


Steve Splichal_1Eudora Schools Superintendent Steve Splichal (photo courtesy The Eudora School District)

 Eudora News and Information www.eudorareporter.com

Eudora Schools Superintendent Steve Splichal announced on Thursday that the school district will face a budget cut due to Governor Sam Brownback’s plan to balance the state budget.  Brownback announced on Thursday that the state will be cutting 1.5% in school district allotments. The current base state aid will drop by approximately $42 per student.  In Eudora, that cut comes to a loss of $81,638 from this year’s subsidy.

“It will take me some time to formulate a plan to address this cut, but I will be working with building and district leaders to find the solutions that – though painful – are the most appropriate”, Splichal said in an open letter Thursday.  “In the meantime, I have asked each of the outstanding professionals who make up our district to do what they can to reduce use of resources and delay any and all purchases until further notice.”

Splichal went on to state that additional bills before the legislature could cut more from the local option budget and delay capital outlay payments to schools until June 30.

“This news is upsetting in many, many ways. Sadly, it is news that many have seen coming for quite some time,” Splichal said.  “Until the governor and state lawmakers choose to restore revenue streams – most notably, the tax plan passed in 2012 that has brought us to this point – Eudora Schools and districts all across our state will suffer.”


Eudora News and Informationwww.eudorareporter.com

The Eudora School District, as with most districts in the State of Kansas, is facing severe reductions in revenue. Not only is the state of Kansas reducing their contributions to the funding of school districts, USD491 faces additional strain due to the ending of new facilities money the district received for building the new Eudora Elementary School.

At the last School Board meeting, Superintendent Don Grosdidier outlined how the district is looking at nearly $1.3 million in revenue losses for the school year. Grosdidier stated that while budget cuts at the district level would save nearly $700,000, there would still need to be around $600,000 to $650,000 in building level cuts.

“When we start looking at building level cuts, make no mistake about it, we are talking about classroom kinds of cuts.  When we get into those budgets, the principles will tell you there’s not much there outside of staff.”

According to numerous reports we have received,  staff members likely to be affected by these cuts are being verbally told of that possibility.  According to multiple sources that wished to remain anonymous, some teachers from Eudora Elementary School were told this past Friday that they will not be retained next year.  We want to state on the record that School District officials would not confirm these reports. We have confirmed that some staff members have decided to either retire or leave their positions in the face of the looming cuts.

We contacted the School District Monday afternoon about these reports and were given the following statement by Eudora School District Spokesperson Kristin Magette.

“The board has taken no action on any classroom positions at this time. That said, the board will be considering additional staff cuts at Thursday’s board meeting.”  She also added that “It is not uncommon for a principal to visit with an affected employee prior to a board meeting, simply as a courtesy, so that they aren’t learning of the proposal during the meeting.”

When asked via email how these decisions were to be made, Magette responded that “Each principal and director was directed to identify cuts at 10% and 15% of their budgets.”   Per the school districts statement, “The discretion of where these cuts might be made in a school was left entirely with each principal.”

The School District would not identify prior to the Board meeting at what level the cuts will be or if it is strictly personnel cuts, program cuts or a combination of these and other cuts.

The School Board meeting, normally held in the Eudora Middle School library has been moved to the Middle School auditorium this month.  The meeting will commence Thursday at 7:00PM.


Eudora News and Information – www.eudorareporter.com

The Eudora School District is looking at possibly having to make some tough budget cuts in the upcoming year.

At Thursday nights School Board meeting, Superintendent Don Grosdidier gave a presentation on what the district may be looking at for the upcoming fiscal year.

“We are  looking at a gap of  about 1.3 million dollars” Grosdidier said in his presentation.

There are two big factors that play an important key in the decline in revenue for the school district.

First is the loss of new facilities money. This money was given to the Eudora School District by the State Government to help build and establish the new elementary school.  The new facilities money has a two year life on the grant and the Eudora School District is now at the end of that two year period. The amount of new facilities money that currently figures into School District budget is slightly over 1 million dollars.

The second loss of revenue will stem from what the State Legislature decides to do.  This amount for the Eudora School District, is currently estimated by School District officials to be approximately 330,000 for the next fiscal year. We do want to emphasize that this number is an extremely fluid number and may grow or decrease depending largely on the actions of the Legislature in the coming days and weeks.

The rhetorical question Grosdidier asked during his presentation to the Board was “How will we fill the hole?”

The answer to that question can be a myriad of things which Grosdidier outlined in much detail. Again, we want to stress that these are just initial proposals and not necessarily being put into action at this time.

Grosdidier stated that if the opportunity comes along to sell the Laws Field/Nottingham property, this could offset most of the loss in new facilities money. Grosdidier also said that, after talking to possible developers, he is not optimistic that a sale will occur anytime in the near future.

More likely scenarios include using funding the District received from FEMA to pay on leases the School District currently has and shutting down some of the unused portions of properties at the old Nottingham school, and the old school building at 10th & Main. There is also a plan to possibly lease space at the old West Elementary School to Greenbush, an Education Service Organization that currently serves eastern and southeastern Kansas.

Additional funding could be raised in the form of higher fees or raising the district mill levy 0.6 mills to the maximum level the State currently allows districts to levy.  Grosdidier did state that raising the mill levy was not much of an option because of the levels of property evaluations in town, 0.6 mills raises very little money for the district.

Additional cuts may need to be made in the areas of programs and functions of the District. Some of those cuts include the elimination of the District-level mentoring program, cuts in the food service department and cutting the assistant coaching positions in sports.  Also offered for review was the elimination of a position in the District Administration office after the employee who holds that position retires. Several other cuts to various operations where detailed saving thousands here and thousands there. By the time this was all totaled up, it left between $600,000 and $650,000 of a shortfall.

This remaining money, if it indeed comes to this point, is by reducing funds at the building level. As Grosdidier pointed out, most of the building level expenditures are in staffing.  Building Principles have been directed by the Administration to look at how to cut 10 to 15 percent from their budgets if they are necessary.

“When we start looking at building level cuts, make no mistake about it, we are talking about classroom kinds of cuts.  When we get into those budgets, the principles will tell you there’s not much there outside of staff.”

The Board of Education will be presented proposals from the building staff and administration at the next Board meeting in April.  The District hopes to have a clearer picture of anticipated revenues from the State by this time.