First Proposed USD 259 Cuts Announced

By: Alicia Myers Email
By: Alicia Myers Email

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Monday, February 28, 2011

Wichita schools are still searching for nearly $30 million to cut from next year's school budget.

$450,000 sounds like a big cut for a normal budget.

When compared to the approximately $30 million USD 259 is looking to cut from the 2011-2012 budget, it seems like pocket change.

"I think when everyone looks and realizes the ball we're behind in the $30 million and that it is a very significant amount of dollars, though, it doesn't get us to our $30 million, it's a start they'll be very supportive of those efforts," said Superintendent John Allison.

In his first of several budget cut proposals, Allison presented the $450,000 cut to board members at Monday night's meeting.

Those cuts would come from bell time alignment at nine schools, changing the start and end time of school. The change would allow for a triple-bus schedule, reducing the fleet by thirteen buses.

Allison says not all options will be that easy.

"We don't have 39 or 40 more like that. We're going to very quickly be out of those types of options. Then, it becomes staff, it becomes programs," said Allison.

Depending on decisions made in Topeka by the legislature, board members say rumors of forced class-size reductions could be another harmful change.

"You're ruining lives. You're talking about rebuilding and everything. How do you rebuild a child's life? How do you take somebody who's lost a year of schooling and hasn't been given the best education they can, and try to say you're going to catch up later on, so bear with us, we'll catch up. It isn't going to happen," said Connie Dietz, Board of Education President.

Allison plans to release more budget cut proposals at the next meeting. He also plans to identify projects that have been put on hold during the tough economic times.

Allison says even though it is tough, programs and staff could experience most of the cuts.

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