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District will use reserves to offset state cuts

Staff writer

USD 410 will take approximately $51,000 from its cash reserves to compensate for state funding cuts, Superintendent Steve Noble said Monday during a board of education meeting.

Earlier this year, USD 410 approved a $4.7 million general fund for 2009-10. Declining enrollment and larger-than-expected state aid cuts have left the district with an actual general fund of $4.6 million.

Part of the shortfall will be absorbed by a $100,000 cushion built into the budget, Noble said.

He expects state funding to continue falling through at least the 2011-12 school year. Coupled with expected enrollment decreases, Noble projects state aid falling $500,000 in 2011-12 from where it is now.

Because the district’s cash reserves of $651,000 will not last indefinitely, the district will form a funding prioritization committee to recommend where to make cuts, he said. Other districts in Kansas are already making cuts — to staff and instruction time.

Noble said people from other districts have asked him how USD 410 hasn’t made dramatic cuts recently. Previous school boards and administrators at USD 410 showed foresight and made cuts gradually in recent years, he said.

Lawsuit vote expected

Schools for Fair Funding will meet at 10 a.m. in Salina. Noble said he thinks the membership will vote whether to sue the state for more school funding.

He thinks some schools would support re-opening an earlier lawsuit.

USD 410 is a member of Schools for Fair Funding, and Noble invited board members to attend the meeting with him.

In other business:

  • Marion County Parents as Teachers coordinator Lori Soo Hoo gave a presentation about the program and reviewed results of a survey of participating families. Parents reported improvement in every category the survey measured from the time they entered Parents as Teachers until their exit from the program. The greatest increase was seen in knowing what behaviors are typical for a child of a certain age.
  • High school social studies teacher Jim Robb demonstrated how he utilizes the student laptop program in class. His students respond better to interactive learning, so he uses some educational games, he said.
  • Hillsboro High School is a bronze medal recipient in “U.S. News & World Report’s” third annual “America’s Best High Schools” study, HHS Principal Max Heinrichs said. The latest student ACT scores are almost three points higher than the state average. However, the scores are lower than the previous year.
  • Tentative rule changes are planned for the 2010 prom. Juniors and seniors must attend the banquet to be admitted to the dance, and only USD 410 juniors and seniors will be permitted at the banquet. Outside dates to the dance must either be of high school age or be a 2009 USD 410 graduate.
  • Flinthills USD 492 Superintendent and Wichita State University doctoral student Bob Diepenbrock will study school safety in USD 410 for his dissertation. The district, staff, and students would not be identified in the report. In return, Diepenbrock will provide recommendations to the board at no cost.
  • The board met in closed session for 45 minutes to discuss personnel. When the meeting returned to open session, the board approved resignations and new contracts. Robb resigned as student council sponsor, effective at the end of the school year. Bob Woelk resigned as Technology Student Association co-sponsor, effective immediately.
  • Justin Moore will be an assistant high school boys basketball coach. Cheri Weinbrenner will be an assistant high school girls basketball coach. Creigh Bell will be the exclusive Technology Student Association sponsor.
  • Linda Ewert will be a high school and middle school kitchen assistant.

The next regularly scheduled USD 410 Board of Education meeting will be 7 p.m. Jan. 11.

Last modified Dec. 17, 2009

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