Feeling the pinch?

District seeing effects of budget cut

Kennedee Estes, Reporter

New budget cuts have a large impact on the schools in the district. The district had to make significant cuts in order to balance the budget. The budget is frozen and there is no longer a finance formula.

The outcome of Olathe West has been called into question as well. How will the district pay for teacher’s salaries and other miscellaneous expenses? The money to build the high school has already been set aside and cannot be touched for any other purposes, however that doesn’t cover salaries and expenses.

“Previously [the district] [was] able to raise ‘new facility’ money to open new buildings and we are hopeful that will still be in place,” Marlin Berry, Superintendent, said, “We do have a back up plan if that changes.”

Olathe West is still on the schedule to open in the coming years.

Another concern that has been raised by teachers and students of the district is the introduction of new technology in middle schools, such as giving iPads to very student, and high schools, with new computers for each teacher. How does the school afford the new tech when the budget is frozen?

“This is two different ‘pots’ of money that by state law have to be used separately,” Berry said, “The money for iPads came from our bond issue, which says it can only be spent on technology. So we couldn’t have used that money in our budget to avoid cuts anyway.”

Many programs are relying heavily on fundraising efforts now that money is extremely tight. The athletic department is heavily relying on ticket sales at games and cutting back on transportation.

“We are trying to cut back on transportation and eliminate long trips,” Clint Albers, athletic director, said, “As well as trying to consolidate and put more students on fewer buses.”

“The news coming from the state is not encouraging,” Albers said, “[however], we are going to continue to consolidate and save.”

The district, however, is hopeful for the future.

“I think there is hope,” Berry said, “The state froze the money in ‘block grants’ while they work on a new school finance formula. We are hopeful something will be put in place to allow schools to have adequate resources to hire enough teachers and provide great learning opportunities for our students.”