Tri States Public Radio Staff
Needs vs. Wants
Tue March 6, 2012
Keokuk School Board Reviews Cuts
The Keokuk School Board is weighing future goals versus current needs as it considers cutting next year’s budget.
The panel met for nearly two hours, Monday night, to review the administration’s plan for closing a $1.3-million shortfall.
It calls for the use of @$580,000 in cash reserves and $700,000 in cuts.
The cash reserves are being looked at as a one-time revenue source, so the same amount would likely be needed through cuts next year.
The budget cuts garnering the most attention, during the special work session, were the elimination of a part-time high school science teacher and a part-time high school math teacher.
Several board members were concerned about whether this would lead to some courses being cut because of a reduction in staff.
Board President Tyler McGhghy says that is not the case. He says the district is looking to consolidate sections of the same class, not cutting courses.
Members also expressed concerns about potential class sizes at the middle school, due to a cut in the language arts program and the possible impact on taxes.
The Keokuk School Board could vote on the modifications as early as next week.
The list of proposed budget modifications includes:
- Reduce a ½ time Elementary PE position, a ½ time Elementary art position, & a ½ time elementary music position (@$60,000 savings)
- Reduce a third grade classroom but add a first grade classroom (@$20,000 savings)
- Replace Hawthorne Elementary Dean position and add a second dean (@$36,000 additional cost)
- Utility Services at Wells-Carey (@$20,000 savings)
- Eliminate full-time custodian, ½ time custodian, secretary, and media clerk from Wells Carey while hiring ½ time custodian and ½ time media clerk at Hawthorne Elementary (@$92,000 savings)
- Reduce a Title I teacher and a ½ time Title I clerk (@$62,000 savings)
- Reduce Elementary Guidance Counselors due to loss of grant (@$315,000 savings)
- Reduce multiple part time positions at the High School (Media Specialist, Language Arts, Math, & Science) along with Study Hall Clerk and Supervision position (@$180,000 savings)
The Keokuk School District could expand one of its programs despite its sizable budget shortfall.
The school board is considering the addition of a second preschool classroom.
Superintendent Lora Wolff says students had to be turned away from the program this year.
She says the district is serving about 30 preschool students this year.
Adding another classroom would allow Keokuk to more than double that total.
Wolff says the proposal before the school board calls for the two preschool classrooms to be located in the former Torrence Elementary.
The expansion would require the hiring of a new teacher and a new associate at a cost of around $70,000.
The board could vote on the preschool proposal later this month.