'Tough Choices' For USD 259 School Leaders

By: Alicia Myers Email
By: Alicia Myers Email

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Monday, April 11, 2011

Some tough choices were made by Wichita school leaders looking for another $15 million in cuts Monday evening.

Board members provided details on the second phase of cuts to the school budget, and what those cuts will mean to district employees and programs.

Phase 2 Includes the elimination of 72 full-time employees. The breakdown of those losses are:

o Two positions from Safety Services
o One from Financial Services
o Two positions lost in Human Resources
o 63 Cuts Made to the Learning Services Department
o Two from Legal Services
o Two from the Central Office Administration Staff

Board Vice President Betty Arnold says Phase 2 cuts have been the deepest so far. "I don't see how that's going to help us economically, Arnold said. "The more jobs that you eliminate, then you are eliminating the tax structure as well. It seems like we are digging a deeper hole. It is always a very sad situation when we have to cut employees."

So far, $15 million in cuts have been proposed. That leaves about $15 million more to cut. Arnold says Phase 3 cuts will be heartbreaking for the immediate future of the district.

"It could represent potential closing of schools, it could represent the way we transport our students, and certainly there will be additional jobs that we will have to cut. So when you have cut to the core already, and to know that you still have additional cuts, it is frightening," Arnold said.

Thirty million dollars may not be the final total needed to be cut. Those cuts depend on final decisions made by the legislature. Phase 3 cuts will be announced by the end of April.

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