KY schools have to cut budget even after low scores report

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The leadership of KY DoE has been in flux the past five years. As a result competing thoughts and philosophies have left the group vulnerable to massive budget cuts. Additionally, local school districts who depend on additional taxes may see further lose of funds when pleasure and sin taxes are reduced due to the increasing recession. For many local school districts this could be the death nail for independently managed funding. Restructing plans to streamline funding and grant request in the state could be the answer; additionally, schools have to make tough choices when it comes to personnel. Do you keep 6 non-certified staff and fire 2 certified? Do you reduce the ESS pay for teachers? Do coaches and atheletic directors have to go begging for money during a recession? Principals and Superintendents have to evaluate all of these possibilites and look for viable areas of positive growth over the longterm. Recessions do no last forever; however, operating budgets can have longterm effect if they are leaned-up and then left unchanged over time.

Below is an excerpt about the projected outcomes of budget cuts in education.

Kentucky School News and Commentary: Proposed Cuts called Devastating amid Freezes and Layoffs. 32 districts fear deficits, 51 raid contingency funds

A four percent reduction to the state’s P-12 education budget would amount to approximately $132 million. If the reduction includes the Support Education Excellence in Kentucky (SEEK) funding formula, school district superintendents indicated that they would have to make difficult choices.

* Even though it is very difficult to reduce staff after the school year has begun, 36 districts indicated that they would reduce staffing levels for the current school year. This would include hiring freezes and layoffs of classified staff in some cases.
* 142 districts indicated that they expect to reduce staff for the 2009-10 school year, because many of them will be entering that school year with very low contingencies and will be forced to reduce staffing and programs to balance their budgets for the year.
* 33 districts indicated that they would be forced to reduce Flexible Focus programs such as extended school services, safe schools, professional development and other related programs.
* These reductions are in addition to reductions already in place in the enacted budget.
* 41 districts indicated that they will curtail or eliminate maintenance expenditures for the remainder of the fiscal year. Failure to maintain our school buildings will shorten the expected life of those facilities and result in greater costs in the future.
* 28 districts indicated that they would defer major equipment items, including school buses, for the remainder of the year. Districts are encouraged to implement a replacement schedule for buses to ensure that children are safely transported to and from schools. The decision to defer these purchases will result in greater costs in the future as well.
* 23 districts indicated that they would reduce technology and equipment purchases, and some indicated that they would be unable to match their offers of assistance under the Kentucky Education Technology System (KETS) program.
* 5 districts indicated that they would have to consider reducing their full-day kindergarten programs to half-day programs. Currently, state funding only covers half-day kindergarten, but a majority of districts provide full-day services with monies from their general funds.
* 3 districts indicated that they would suspend their facility plans and halt construction on new schools.

Other state-funded programs would experience extreme limitations under a four percent reduction, including:

* career and technical education
* assistance to low-performing schools
* leadership and instructional support
* educator quality and diversity
* preschool
* safe schools
* textbooks
* gifted and talented
* technology

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