Wednesday, April 26, 2000
Cutbacks ahead in Lakota schools
Board delays request for money issue
By Sue Kiesewetter
UNION TOWNSHIP Voters in the Lakota School District won't see a money issue on the August ballot, but students will begin to see the effects of last month's levy failure.
Lakota Board of Education members on Monday agreed not to ask voters for more funds until the November election, or possibly the May 2001 primary ballot.
Meanwhile, Superintendent Kathleen Klink told board members, class sizes will increase and some children might be reassigned to a less crowded elementary school when classes resume next fall.
Absolutely nothing has changed. We're still in need of an operating levy to do what we need to do on a day-to-day basis, said Alan Hutchinson, treasurer of the Lakota district. We still need buildings.
Residents last month rejected a 6.74-mill combination bond issue/operating levy that would have provided $44.5 million to build ele mentary and junior schools, along with funding the first three years of a five-year capital-improvement plan. The issue included 1.84 mills to generate $8.2 million for daily operations.
Without that money the district is facing a $2.5 million to $3 million deficit at the end of the 2001-02 school year.
Mrs. Klink is preparing a series of budget reductions that will begin in August, including cutting each principal's building budget and hiring fewer teachers than normal to accommodate the 500-600 new students expected when classes resume in August.
Other ideas will be discussed with board members May 8. Mrs. Klink will present a list of reductions, with some beginning in August, others in 2001. The board also directed Mr. Hutchinson to come back with several options for levy/bond issues, along with projections of the district's financial picture.
We've got to have both of them, said board member Dan Warncke, who favors a November ballot issue. You can put on a bond levy but then not have money to operate the schools we already have. (Without an) operating levy we have no place to put the kids who keep coming.
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