BEATRICE – Facing declining revenues and the continued need to hold back expenses, the Beatrice School Board has approved a series of short-term budget reductions.
Superintendent Jason Alexander says it’s the recommendation no one likes.
:38 “generate any more revenue”
Steps approved by the board will save a total of about $223,000. They include:
- Leaving the Compass Program at ESU Number Five
- Revising the orchestra program contract and salary
- Not filling a half-time special education teacher position at the high school, through attrition
- Not filling two certified positions at the grade school level, through attrition, and….
- Eliminating an Energy Management position
The cut of two certified positions drew the most opposition. Board member Doris Martin feels that could lock the district into six sections of kindergarten, rather than seven.
:34 “with a hundred and 23”
Assistant Superintendent, Dr. Jackie Nielsen says individual class size is important, but the key factor is the quality of instructor doing the teaching.
Board member Steve Winter says the choice on the budget reductions isn’t easy.
:08 “because of money”
The board was presented with the policy recommendations in January, but the issue came up for a vote, last night…allowing several weeks for feedback.
Board member Eric Trusty says there’s some uncertainty where enrollment will go in the future.
:13 “down to six”
Martin suggested the budget cuts be tabled for a month, but elementary school officials said that would not leave enough time for parents to make decisions regarding where their kindergarten level children will attend school this coming year.
It’s expected a class section reduction would take place at Lincoln Elementary School.
Superintendent Jason Alexander says the district has more than one-million dollars less in revenue this year than last and has spent about $221,000 less than it did at this time last year.
:23 “we’ve had”
Alexander says 75-to-85-percent of the district budget is fixed costs….mainly personnel.
The board’s vote to approve the short-term budget reductions was 5-1, with one member absent from last night’s meeting.