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On the heels of one of the worst economic recessions in years, Nixa Publics Schools has announced that it will cut 1.1 million dollars from its 2011-2012 school budget. KSMU’s Mike Donnelly reports.
Brenda Rantz, the executive director of finance for Nixa Public Schools explains why the cuts are happening.
“The cuts are happening just because of the shortfall of our revenue and our current economic situation, and this has caused school to re-think on how they do things, and the money is not there, so we have to make adjustments somewhere,” she said.
A driving factor in the district’s cut is the issue of state funding, which has been fairly conservative in last few years.
Even with the steep cuts in Nixa’s budget, the school district is working with current employees to preserve nearly all of the jobs that will be affected, says spokesman Zach Rantz.
“What it is that we’ve had job openings in different positions, classroom positions, and, depending on what the job was, just different areas in the district, and so we’ve gone through and have made sure that every single person whose job is impacted by the cuts is going to have another position in the school district,” he said.
The cuts will affect several school programs, including athletics and music programs. Nixa’s athletic budget will take an 18.4% cut, which will limit transportation costs and actual competition schedules. The band will be facing a major equipment budget cut.
Activity director for Nixa Public High School Karen McKnight says she worries that the cuts may not be enough to restore certain programs completely.
“Even with the budget cuts, we’re still not back to where we were 6 or 7 years ago. We have been fortunate enough to where our athletic budget and activities budget has actually grown over the last five years, where we’ve gotten a little more, other than last year when we did have a cut. But even with these cuts we’re still not back to square one,” she said.
Many in the district are hoping that things will turn around by next year. But for now, they are left with the stark reality that they have no choice other than to make due with what they have.
Nixa Public Schools will also be eliminating a part-time French teacher position, a driver’s ed position, and do away with the transitional kindergarten program and the Stanford 10 testing for elementary kids.
For KSMU News, I’m Mike Donnelly