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Staff, programs cut at high school to lower deficit

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LINCOLN - Staff and program cuts at Lincoln Community High School will help halve a budget deficit, but students should notice no difference in their education experience next school year, the school superintendent said.

The high school district had a projected budget deficit of $772,424 for 2006-07, but the school board approved about $306,000 in cuts Tuesday night. The cuts, which will take effect with the new budget on July 1, include eliminating three full-time teachers and one part-time teacher.

"Through these cuts we have been able to maintain all the program offerings at LCHS. We just trimmed around the edges," Superintendent Dean Langdon said. "Your average Lincoln Community High School student will not notice a difference in their academic experience come next year."

Cuts ranged from reducing teaching and extracurricular positions and arts spending to eliminating roller skating in gym class. Lunch prices, driver's education fees and some tax levies for special funds also will go up.

"It's really all over the map when it comes to where we cut," said Langdon, "However, no educational or extracurricular program was completely cut from our school."

The vote Tuesday was 4-3, Langdon said.

"Everyone had their own reasons for voting how they did," he said. "In my opinion, it's never pleasant anytime we have to reduce staff, but our organization is strong about working together through anything."

The three full-time teachers who will be laid off for next year are in their second year. They are David Welch in social studies, Mike Koester in science and Ryan Baxter in math. Part-time art teacher Cheryl Hall also is on the list.

A projected $22,800 in savings will come from cutting 13 extracurricular assistants in football, boys' basketball, girls' basketball, wrestling, volleyball, baseball, girls' track, boys' track, girls swimming, boys' swimming, boys' golf, speech and scholastic bowl.

Other cost-reducing measures included cutting a gym manager, football and basketball ushers, eliminating afternoon detention and reducing morning detention to three, instead of five, days a week, earning a total savings of $8,275.

The board also reduced money for supplies for fall and winter plays and the school musical, technology spending and school counseling.

Cost savings include having after school and summer school students taught by the hour and taught online, eliminating roller skating in physical education, and cutting professional service in the school's music program.

The board also approved $126,527 in increased revenue measures for the next school year,n;including an increase in driving training fees from $5 to $50 and a 35-cent hike - from $1.62 to $2 - for lunch fees.

Langdon said the $306,000 in cuts make up for about 50 percent of the deficit. He said he's optimistic that revenues will increase over the next couple of years, making a balanced budget by the 2007-08 school year.

He said he hopes to see some of the revenue increases coming from the state's general state aid allocation, which has been capped since 1997.


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