Post Falls schools brace for cuts - Coeur d'Alene Press: Local News

Post Falls schools brace for cuts

District expects budget to be about $1.2 million less

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Posted: Thursday, April 21, 2011 12:00 am | Updated: 10:47 am, Fri Nov 16, 2012.

POST FALLS - With Post Falls' upcoming school budget expected to be reduced by about $1.2 million, job cuts are expected for the next fiscal year.

"There is very little doubt that we will have fewer positions in the district next year than we have this year," Superintendent Jerry Keane said after a districtwide budget workshop on Tuesday. "However, it is way too early to know any specifics. It will take all spring and part of the summer to sort this out."

The State Department of Education will hold a budget workshop on May 2 at North Idaho College so districts will have a better understanding on how much will be reduced then.

But Keane said about $1.2 million less is estimated. It will be the district's third straight budget decrease.

"Half of the decrease is coming from the state shortfall of $47 million and the other half will be reduced from our salary-reduced apportionment to pay for new technology," he said. "We will be receiving money for new technology, but it is unknown what that amount will be at this time."

No decisions have been made on reducing programs or staff, Keane said.

At the budget workshop, maintaining support staff and class sizes were listed as priorities.

"(Para-professionals) provide much assistance to students both academically and behaviorally, which benefits the students served, other students in the classrooms as well as the teachers," said Mandy Surratt, West Ridge Elementary principal.

Ponderosa Elementary Principal Kathy Baker said quality contact time between students and educators means the difference between student success and failure.

"Our staff is willing to take pay cuts via furlough days in addition to a reduction in family medical benefits to protect programming for the children," Baker said. "I am so proud of our staff because, despite the current climate, they continue to keep everything they do about the children."

In a staff survey, Prairie View Elementary employees said they would like to maintain as many certified and classified positions as possible along with current salaries.

"I think we all understand that the budget process this year will not be easy and that we all need to work together to make it work," Prairie View Principal Colleen Kelsey said. "Our first priority, as always, is finding a way to sustain the quality education that we currently provide for our students."

River City Middle School Principal Mike Yovetich said he believes that, despite reductions in recent years, the district will continue to provide a quality education.

"(Post Falls) has solid leadership and my experience with (the district) has left me confident they will work hard with the district's stakeholders to find the best possible way to implement the changes that are going to be required," he said.

The district will lose about $500,000 in federal stimulus funds that is helping keep jobs. Post Falls voters recently approved a supplemental levy of $2.6 million per year for two years that will limit the budget bleeding. The funding will increase taxes by $12 per year for the owner of a $184,000 home.

The district started to meet with the Post Falls Education Association on Wednesday regarding teacher contract negotiations. Several meetings are expected.

A public hearing on the school budget will be held on June 13 at 6 p.m. at Post Falls City Hall, 408 N. Spokane St.

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  • nickadam posted at 5:43 am on Thu, Sep 15, 2011.

    nickadam Posts: 14

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  • tedsfriend posted at 1:58 pm on Fri, Apr 22, 2011.

    tedsfriend Posts: 9

    Are teachers State of Idaho employees?

  • Randy Myers posted at 9:11 am on Fri, Apr 22, 2011.

    Randy Myers Posts: 1635

    Education reform has two vital pieces: 1) Funding 2) Doing things differently within the Districts. Post Falls set their priorities and are working with what the state gives them and their newly passed levy. I am convvinced that the "good old days" which can maybe be considered pre- 2008 are over. Everyone here has stated facts from their own point of view and to bolster their own positions. the reality is we are in a deep depression and education is undervalued right now. I have stated before that Districts ought to look towards consolidation and within districts administration needs to be cut along with programs that used to be taken for granted as ongoing (talking extra curriculars like athletics, music, etc). This is no longer 1950-1990's America in terms of education.

  • Thedude01 posted at 10:39 pm on Thu, Apr 21, 2011.

    Thedude01 Posts: 7

    My2sense, what are you talking about? I have never seen a rent a cop at any school in Post Falls. I have seen two post falls cops at the schools, but thats it. I for one like the idea of having an armed officer to protect my kids. If some nut bag walks in and shoots up a school, are you going to fight back my2sense? I didnt think so. Having someone ready just in case is something we, as taxpayers, need to pay for.

    I have dealt with both cops. Farina was my kids Dare officer and Urig was, well, the cop that caught my kid doing somethings he shouldnt have been. They have always been fair with me and my family. And now my kid has learned from his mistakes and i am very proud to say it. I will go to bat for these cops anyday.

  • Tjsandford posted at 8:52 pm on Thu, Apr 21, 2011.

    Tjsandford Posts: 46

    Tedsfriend. We have no choice concerning textbooks. All providers are out of state yet we still have to have them. Our legislature chose to put our money into technology rather than people and it is costing Idaho jobs. A laptop does not buy groceries, gas, pay a mortgage, go out to dinner, or invest in it's community. As for whether or not online education has to be provided by a State certified teacher in state is questionable. I am unsure as to the certification but I am fairly sure that the state of residence is not mandated. The real question is: where is the online provider located? The company that provides the service takes the lions share of the fees. That is the money that will be lost to this state. Those are the jobs that could be supporting the Idaho economy.

  • tedsfriend posted at 12:08 pm on Thu, Apr 21, 2011.

    tedsfriend Posts: 9

    What part of Idaho are all the textbooks that are used in every classroom produced? And where in Idaho are those gigantic textbook payments for these and other materials sent?

    My understanding is that all online courses available to public school students in Idaho require an in state certified teacher, is that not true?

  • squirrel nutkin posted at 11:57 am on Thu, Apr 21, 2011.

    squirrel nutkin Posts: 231

    Hey cdanative, don't confuse crust with facts. People like that don't give a rip about education, only about letting everyone else pay for the cost of keeping the world moving.

  • The Truth posted at 11:29 am on Thu, Apr 21, 2011.

    The Truth Posts: 2193

    Nothing but the least for our kids!

  • My2sence posted at 10:34 am on Thu, Apr 21, 2011.

    My2sence Posts: 317

    Hopefully they start by getting rid of the Barney Fife "rent-a-cop clown" that causes more grief than good

  • cdanative33 posted at 9:43 am on Thu, Apr 21, 2011.

    cdanative33 Posts: 357

    Agreed crust 123. . . but idaho schools have already lost 200 million in funding over the last three years which has put us at 49th in th nation for spending per student; Our test scores rank in the upper 50% though because our teachers are good and our districts are efficient. When times were good, the state of Idaho changed the education funding mechanism from property tax to sales tax while being warned that this was not a stable way to fund education in the long term because sales taxes fluctuate much more widely depending on the economic times. . . the warnings proved to be true.

    Furthermore, districts are not only dealing with budget cuts, they are also now dealing with the new legislation that requires that they use a portion of the already scarce funds to buy technology. . . and pay for an out of state for profit company to administer courses online. All of this adds up to your child having bigger classes and less opportunity.

    It comes down to what our priorities are as a state.

  • Tjsandford posted at 9:43 am on Thu, Apr 21, 2011.

    Tjsandford Posts: 46

    Crust123. It will not help all of the businesses who are stuggling to put more people out of work. Some of the need for these cuts come because the legislature mandated moving money out of payroll and into technology. 1.9% this year, next year another 4% (more jobs lost) and the following year it moves up to 6% (more jobs lost), all so we can fund technology, send Idaho tax dollars out of state to online education providers, and buy "mobile computing devices". We are losing good jobs because our legislature put technology ahead of people and payback for their campaign contributers ahead of Idaho. Do you realize that this is the third straight year of cuts to education? It totals nearly $250,000,000.00 in 3 years. When the cuts started Idaho was 40th for per pupil spending and now we are 50th. Even when times were great education spending in Idaho went up only incrementally. In the last three years the CDA school District will have lost over $10,000,000.00 in funding. After trimming and adjusting everything possible it is now coming to people. The Districts are losing jobs now. Remember as you read this that we have the same amount or more students and we are expected to produce a higher quality "product", with much less resources.

  • will-- posted at 9:11 am on Thu, Apr 21, 2011.

    will-- Posts: 898

    Well said 123,

    We can no longer spend what we don't have.

  • crust123 posted at 8:09 am on Thu, Apr 21, 2011.

    crust123 Posts: 166

    Times are tough mr d, surely you have noticed.
    Have you noticed all the businesses going bankrupt and closing doors. People in business unemployed.
    How is it that all these businesses have to cut back with the economy, and government gets a free pass??
    Why should government agencies not be forced to control their costs, be more efficient, and make some tough decisions. They are all very quick to add when times are good. Well, when times are tough, you need to subtract. Not anybody's fault, just the way it is. Without some common sense and cost cutting across this country, there will be no bright future.

  • mister d posted at 7:32 am on Thu, Apr 21, 2011.

    mister d Posts: 1531

    Good job goedde, noninni, and luna. You care nothing about the future of idaho and the children of idaho. Sacrifice the future for you busines owner friends. Lets hope you are voted out of office asap and we get this state back on a bright future.

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