Wednesday, May 24, 2000

Lakota cutting $2M from budget

Measures to 'buy time' until next levy

By Sue Kiesewetter
Enquirer Contributor

        UNION TOWNSHIP — More than $2 million will be cut from the Lakota Schools budget for the upcoming school year. And if voters don't pass some kind of money issue in November, more sharp cuts will come, school officials say.

        Lakota Superintendent Kathy Klink outlined a package of eight budget-reduction measuresfor board members Monday. They take effect July 1 when the new budget year begins. Cuts are being made this year to lessen the impact in future years if a levy fails again.

        Children in five neighborhoods along Beckett Road will also move from Heritage Elementary School to Shawnee Elementary to ease overcrowding. The move will affect 100 to 150 students who live in Beckett Landing, Beckett Meadows, Beckett Preserve, Beckett Lake and Wyndree Apartments.

        “This is an effort to buy us time until we pass a levy,” said Alan Hutchinson, treasurer of Lakota Schools.

        In March, voters rejected a 6.74-mill combination levy that would have provided $44.5 million to build two schools and begin a capital improvement plan, along with providing $8.2 million each year for operations. The Board of Education has said it will put another issue on the November ballot.

        Among the cuts are a 10 percent reduction in each school's budget and a 10 percent reduction in money each principal can use for supplemental positions such as student club sponsors, math lab coordinators or yearbook supervisors. Those reductions will save the district $439,294. Textbook purchases will cut another $225,000 from the budget.

        The budget reductions also mean the district will hire only seven new teachers instead of the usual 25 it would hire to accommodate the 500 new students Lakota is expecting. Hiring fewer teachers and increasing class size would save the district nearly $800,000.

        Another $72,000 will be saved by changing the starting and ending times of some elementary and junior schools by 10 minutes, which would allow the transportation department to rework high school routes so thatbuses will be full when they leave the freshman or senior high schools.


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