School district hit with late budget changes from state
The Basehor-Linwood School District was hit with a few surprises at the end of the 2008-2009 school year.
Superintendent Robert Albers explained Monday night at the Basehor-Linwood School Board meeting that the state had notified the district recently of some last-minute changes.
One such change is an additional budget cut. Albers said this particular cut would affect special education in the district.
Basehor-Linwood is part of the Leavenworth County Special Education Cooperative, which provides services to children with special needs within the six school districts of the county, including Leavenworth, Lansing, Fort Leavenworth, Basehor-Linwood, Tonganoxie and Easton. USD 453 of Leavenworth is the sponsoring district for the special education cooperative.
Next year, the state is granting the special education cooperative $540 less in categorical aid per special education teacher. The state previously provided $29,300 in categorical aid per teacher, and it will provide $28,760 per teacher during the 2009-2010 school year.
Albers said this change would cost the district money because it would raise special education cooperative membership fees.
“It will probably cost us something like $40,000 in all,” Albers said.
Albers said, however, the difference was manageable.
“We will have to make up for it using the general fund,” he said. “The amount we transfer to special education will go up, but I think we’re in good enough shape to handle that.”
Another surprise from the state, Albers said, is that Linwood Elementary School needs to implement a breakfast program next year. Albers said the school had reached the percentage of students with free and reduced lunches – about 20 percent – that made it mandatory to have a breakfast program.
Albers looked at prices for breakfast at other schools in the state, and he came up with a figure he wanted to recommend the school charge for morning meals.
“The state high for breakfast is $2, and the state low is 55 cents,” he said. “I recommend we go with $1.15 to stay within a middle range.”
All Linwood students will be welcome to eat breakfast at the school, and the set fee will only apply to students who do not qualify for free or reduced lunches. Those students will have no fee or an adjusted lower fee.
Implementation of the program would cause a change in the bus schedule as well. Albers said some buses to Linwood would have to run earlier than usual, but this would not be a big problem because breakfast would only be about 20 minutes long.
Albers also said the state would reimburse the district for the cost of the breakfast program.
No decisions were made about the breakfast program or about the special education cuts. Both issues will be addressed again at future meetings.
Also on Monday night, the board:
• Heard preliminary state assessment results from Sandra Guidry. The district made adequate yearly progress requirements in all buildings and had a 97.5 percent graduation rate. Guidry said these results were not final, though parents had been notified of preliminary math and reading scores for their students.
• Discussed the district’s insurance renewal. Assistant Superintendent David Howard said the district could save almost 20 percent by switching from Allied to Travelers. Travelers has less coverage for earthquakes, but is otherwise the same as the district’s current policy. A decision will be made at a future meeting.
• Discussed the process of conducting exit interviews. Howard said the district had 15 staff members not returning next year, and this was the first time it had asked such staff members to complete an online exit interview. Howard said he had 11 completed so far, and the interviews were providing him with valuable information.
• Heard a construction report from supervisor Chris Claflin. He said all projects were moving along well, and few change orders had been necessary.
• Unanimously approved math resources for the 2009-2010 school year. Guidry said the resources could be provided in phases, starting with those absolutely necessary, if the district had the money to do so.
• Unanimously approved Board of Education Policy JBC concerning homeless students for second reading and final approval. Guidry will be the homeless student coordinator.
• Unanimously approved extension of the district’s lease with Apple.
• Unanimously approved the appointments of Robert Reeves as industrial arts teacher at Basehor-Linwood High School and Brian Lohafer as an arts teacher at BLHS, and the resignation of Tangela Moore from Linwood Elementary.
• Unanimously approved the classified salary proposal with a 15 cent raise for all classified employees.