Budget Communication and up-to-date Board Considerations
Watch this page for the most recent
district talk about the budget challenges we are currently facing in USD #400.
So what are we talking in terms of a timeline? How soon will we find out what official cuts will be made?
Usually the Board does not like to talk about the budget issues until after the first of the year. The legislative session can sometimes throw us a curveball, and we never know what's going to happen in Topeka. The serious concerns of our projected district financial situation and the state's revenue shortfalls have forced the USD 400 Board to begin discussions early this year. We need to have extensive discussion about how we intend to make the big cuts. There will certainly be additional recommendations for cost savings later in the spring after we see how things fall out. But we need to let our patrons, parents and employees know the major changes that will occur.
January 13 - 7:00 p.m. - Regular Board Meeting: The primary focus of this meeting will be to begin making decisions about the reductions that must occur. The Board may begin to take action this evening on primary cuts. We may very well see discussions extending into February.
We have recently received some questions about the cost of Vision_Tek. Is this a program that should be cut?
Closing Vision_Tek will not save the district any money. The USD #400 Board of Education is working to examine all
aspects of the budget and reviewing all programs and services offered for our
students. “We are spending a great deal
of time determining how we are going to balance the 2014-15 budget.”
As the Board works to set priorities for the next school
year, one area that will not be cut is Vision_Tek. The building has proven to be a major benefit
to the district, not only by serving students and the community, but it also
produces considerable revenue for Smoky Valley.
The district does not require that programs such as
Industrial Arts, Family and Consumer Science or Music produce revenue enough to
sustain their programs. These programs
are put in place because they are good for our children. Vision_Tek is also producing amazing results
for a large number of SV students in the area of technology. But unlike any of the other district
services, it does produce enough revenue to benefit the district and keep the
building operating without financially taxing the budget.
- The Virtual Charter School is also located in Vision_Tek. The district’s charter school has always produced enough revenue from its enrollment to pay all expenses. All charter monies must be spent in the charter school. The additional revenue from the charter school provides for staff, utility expenses and shared equipment for Vision_Tek. This year the state funding for SVVCS will generate $340,431 based on an FTE of 83.2.
- Vision_Tek serves 75-80 students. Most students generate Career and Technical Education (CTE) dollars because the course meets the state approved guidelines. The district will receive from $17,644 in CTE funding.
- Memberships and evening class offerings have produced over $3,300 last year. We anticipate continued community involvement in our services.
- Vision_Tek has been named an Apple Authorized Service Provider. This means that our current Apple Certified Service Technicians will be reimbursed at a much higher rate from Apple for each warranted repair on our own machines, as well as public machines. In order to maintain this status, we must have a storefront downtown. We currently provide for hundreds of repairs each year. This easily translates into $25,000-30,000 additional dollars annually. The actual cost savings to the district is even higher in this area because of our Apple status. We receive equipment purchase credits (rather than a direct check) on every warranted repair, saving us several thousand additional dollars annually.
Unfortunately many of our programs will be threatened with
cuts and reductions because of the State’s economic situation. Cutting the Vision_Tek program will not save
the district money. The losers would be
the students, the community and the district budget. Closing the facility would force us to cut
something else in order to make up for the lost revenue that the center
Governor to Support Kindergarten Funding Phase-in
So how serious is the budget situation for our district?
The Governor, with support of the legislature, has placed school districts across the state in the most devastating financial situation in the history of the state. You have certainly been reading in the daily news of the drastic cuts to education, as well as other state services. After the recession, Governor Brownback implemented the largest cut to personal income tax, in an effort to bring about economic growth. Income tax is the most relied upon tax for Kansas. This move has brought about major concerns to all factions of state services, especially K-12 education. And many argue that this was an extremely detrimental move by Governor Brownback. Some legislators and advocate groups argue that Kansas has selected a direct path to financial bankruptcy.
So what exactly are we talking about in terms of dollars that need to be cut?
After consideration of our current situation, expenditures and anticipated budget for FY'15, the Board of Education has anticipated that a minimum of $379,500 must be cut from the budget for next year. Some would argue that the number is much higher than that. In either case, this becomes a daunting task. Adding in the spending down of the contingency reserve fund, the board has cut nearly 1 million dollars over the past 3 years. Our students HAVE been affected, and additional cuts will certainly be devastating. This is not just another "tighten your belts"; this is SERIOUS business.
The Smoky Valley Board of Education began official budget discussions on November 11 with a budget work session. Discussion continued with a Special Board Meeting on November 26, devoted entirely on budget planning for next year, and digging deeper into the root cause of lack of state funding.
Based upon the anticipated loss of the Local Option Budget equalization along with declining enrollment, rising costs, and decreasing federal and state funds, the Board is faced with a challenging situation of balancing the budget for 2014-15. Budget talks will continue at the regular meeting on January 13, 2014.
This past week Duane Goossen reported that lawmakers have not budgeted enough to fund our CURRENT budget. You can read the detailed article in the "What's in the News" section of this wiki. If legislators do not come up with a way to fund the additional money, we will lose over $37,000 in this budget year. Here we go again!!!! And we wonder why schools are making devastating cuts across the state.