School Explains Spending During Tough Times

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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Wichita School Board is discussing budget cuts including proposed layoffs, so why is USD 259 buying land for almost $400,000?

The decision at Monday night's school board meeting has many people wondering what is going on.
"We are trying to continue to operate with budget cuts looming," said USD 259 Chief Operations Officer Martin Libhart. "We can't just stop other things."

Our viewers are confused. Jessica writes on "So let's expand a campus and cut teachers and other programs in the schools? Does this really make sense. There are people losing their jobs and yet we're concerned about building onto a school this? This is ridiculous"

This is how the school district explains it. There are two different funds... An unrestricted fund and a restricted fund meaning just that, its restricted.
"That's a totally separate fund of money, that by law can be used only for that purpose, for construction or to buy property. It cannot be used for teachers, salaries, programs, anything on the instructional side," said Libhart.

The nearly $400,000 in capital funds to build new tennis courts and a baseball diamond at North High comes from the restricted pot. Another question from a viewer. Steven writes "So move the capital funds to the budget funds and save some teachers jobs. Hire a rocket science teacher to teach 'em how to figure this stuff out, geeez.' The district says that is against the law.

Libhart adds bond money has to be spent within three years of selling those bonds.

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