Michael D. Clark reported from last night’s Lakota school board meeting of the board’s promises to restore some of the district’s recent, historically deep budget cuts should voters approve a tax hike.
To read that story, visit WestChesterBuzz.com’s post “Lakota board says it will restore some cuts if levy passes”
On Tuesday, the school district released more details of what could be coming back to the district if the tax levy is approved by voters.
See below for that release:
The Lakota Board of Education finalized the last part of the plan for how funds from the November levy would be used if voters approve the issue.
The board approved a recommendation from Superintendent Dr. Karen Mantia that would allocate $2.8 million of the levy’s annual funds to partially restore some services that have been cut and also preserve the district’s current programming and operations. The school district reduced its annual spending by more than $20 million over the last three years.
If the levy is passed, bus service would be reinstated for grades 2-6, for students who live farther than one mile from school. Currently, bus service is issued only to students in those grades if they live farther than two miles from school. This school year, the district identified some routing efficiencies to provide bus service to all K-1 students at no additional cost.
“We value the community’s feedback that we heard in our Community Conversations last year,” said Dr. Mantia. “We heard this would be a tremendous help to our families, and will also help us regain lost instructional time.” Dr. Mantia noted that the change would provide busing to an additional 2,200 students, helping minimize traffic congestion on some of the district’s busiest roads.
- Students in grade 4-6 will be offered one additional day of art, music or physical education. Currently students take classes in art, music or P.E. one time per week.
- Student participation in after-school clubs and extracurricular activities will be encouraged by increasing opportunities and reducing fees from $550 to $400 at high school and from $350 to $300 at junior high.
- Students in grade 9 would be offered a seven-period class schedule, instead of six periods per day.
- Part of the funding was allocated for advanced technologies and modernized coursework to further individualize learning, a focus area of the district’s current strategic planning work.
The school board voted June 24 to place a levy on the November ballot for the community’s consideration, and announced at that time that a major component of the levy would be for technology, including a $13.5 million multi-year upgrade to the district’s instructional technology infrastructure. School building security will also be bolstered across the district. The decisions made by the board Monday evening finalize the plans for how the levy funds would be allocated.
Over the last three years, the Lakota School District, which operates with a balanced budget, has reduced annual spending by $20.8 million, reducing employment numbers, freezing salaries and cutting services to students. The November levy would increase funding by $13.8 million annually, less than the amount already cut.
From 2010 to 2012, spending per pupil in Lakota has decreased by more than 8 percent, and is among the lowest of similar school districts in the area.
“We are always told to reduce our spending, manage our money wisely and live within our means,” said Dr. Mantia. “I am proud to say that we are doing all three of those things.”
The November ballot issue is a 5.5 mill continuing combination levy, which includes 2.0 mills for permanent improvements (capital equipment) and 3.5 mills for operating expenses. It would cost $16 per month per $100,000 of real estate value.