Lakota Lists 12 Million in Cuts: But What about the Wages?

During the meeting at Lakota East on February 23, 2011 it was discussed that Lakota was going to cut 12 million dollars from the budget. The contents of the news report and details of those cuts are included here as reported by the Pulse Journal for prosperity to record. Among the many things said are that Lakota needs a new revenue stream in order to survive into the future. Really?

This interview with Doc Thompson below is especially potent. If you have any doubt about impropriety among the public sector employees, then listen to this broadcast. If you want to continue walking around blind and gullible, than only read the latest news from Lakota also below. If you want the whole story then read the article and listen to the broadcast together, so take a break from your schedule and enjoy the broadcast. While you listen compare what you hear to the news released from Lakota, as reported by Lindsey Hilty, about the specific cuts announced by the Lakota Administration. I will save my closing comments for the end of that article.

By Lindsey Hilty, Staff Writer Updated 8:22 AM Thursday, February 24, 2011
LIBERTY TWP. — Tensions ran high at Lakota East High School Wednesday night as more than 200 concerned parents and community members listened to how cuts would impact students next year.
“We’ve looked at all areas of our budget — everywhere,” interim Superintendent Ron Spurlock said. “…We have to start living within our means.”

Many of the budget cuts, he said, likely could be permanent even with the passage of a levy.
“It’s not a pretty picture,” Spokeswoman Laura Kursman said. “And it’s hard to communicate bad news.”
Another meeting will be at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at Lakota West High School to hear about how $12.2 million in proposed cuts to the operating budget may be implemented pending school board approval.
Parents who can’t attend sessions are asked to fill out a survey on the district’s web site to help with some of the future tough choices.

“I’m very worried,” parent Tricia McCaffrey said. “The Lakota School District I moved in to eight years ago is not the school district I have now when it matters for my son. Losing electives and going to state minimums is not why I chose to pay Lakota taxes.”

Elementary reductions: $3 million, 50 employees cut
The goal is to maintain reading supports, supplemental classes taught by specialists, media center access and an accelerated gifted programs. To be cut: sixth-grade band; third-grade gifted program and services for grades four through six; gym, art, music and library time to 30 minutes each per week for grades one to six; one reading specialist per school; three media specialists sharing 14 schools; literacy coaches and two fewer English as a Second Language instructional aides.

Junior school reductions: $1.7 million, 25.5 employees cut
Reduce day from eight bells to seven with 26-minute study hall, four core content classes and two electives. Programs eliminated include wood shop, English double block, band team teaching, jazz band, an intervention math class and department performance supplemental contracts. There will be two fewer media specialists.
High School reductions: $1.9 million, 28 employees cut

Elective classes to be based on enrollment numbers with limited options, elimination of seventh bell; class size increases and 23.5 credits possible with 21 needed to graduate.

Special Services: $858,500, 19 employees cut
Six fewer special education aides, one counselor per junior school and reduced nursing aids.
Athletic reductions: $1 million cut

No funds for junior school athletics; $550 per high school athlete per sport with no family cap; supervision supplemental and sports information directors positions eliminated, and decreased transportation budgets.
Central Office: $874,143, 5.5 employees cut

Elimination of an assistant superintendent and several central office support positions. Changes to contracted services and a hold on filling positions also led to savings.
Transportation: $2.8 million cut

Already implemented in part, but in August, no student within two miles of school will receive transportation. This will impact half of Lakota’s student population.

Now, that they’ve announced the cuts, keep in mind that the average salary at Lakota is 62K per year for teachers, and those wages occupy over 75% of the total budget. When S.B.5 is passed in the Ohio State Senate and the House of Representatives, which will happen soon, the School Board will then have the power to begin discussing wage issues and other catastrophic costs that are currently being imposed by the teachers union. It would be my hope that the LEA would come to the School Board to renegotiate their very expensive contracts, but they won’t. So make sure to let the school board know that the best way for them to cut costs is to get their ballooning salary expenses under control.

After S.B.5 is passed the administration will not be able to blame the state for those costs any more. The power to control the costs of the district will fall within our district once again. So make sure you let them know that you know that. Because when it is discussed that a new revenue stream is needed, it is clear that the administration doesn’t understand the situation. A school can only consume revenue in the form of tax dollars. They cannot create revenue unless they sell something. Their solution is to implement some cosmetic cuts and ask for more money during the 2011 fiscal year. And that’s not going to happen. So what’s their plan besides asking for more money?

They don’t have one. They are going to have to think differently. Because asking for more revenue to feed wages they’ve allowed to escalate irresponsibly is not going to work. It’s a complete lack of management.

It’s time for a new plan, or to step away and let people who know what they’re doing to manage the situation. The old way won’t work because the community isn’t poised to pass another levy no matter how they chose to spin it with their new spokesman. “Lakota hasn’t passed a levy since 2005.” What will never be forgotten, because I’ll never let people forget it, is that after that levy was passed, in 2008, the LEA bent the community over backwards for increased wages which drove up the costs we are seeing today. So we won’t be traveling back down that path again, no matter how it gets manipulated to the public.

The union should have renegotiated their deal instead of letting employees be let go to preserve their own selfish interests. The cuts Lakota announced don’t begin to deal with the districts real problem, and does not deserve an approved levy in 2011. Once the administration brings the wages under control and the union agrees to some wage reductions, then we can discuss further funding from the community.

Rich Hoffman!/overmanwarrior