After months of soliciting feedback from parents, staff and other Davenport Community Schools stakeholders, school board members directed Superintendent Art Tate on Monday to cut $3.2 million from next year’s budget.

Where those cuts will come from, however, is still up in the air.

The board will likely approve the budget at its April 8 meeting.

The proposed cuts must be published and available for public inspection sometime between March 19 and 29, said Marsha Tangen, the school district’s chief financial officer.

The district’s Resource Allocation Committee has recommended cutting $3.25 million from the budget annually over the next five years.

A big unknown when it comes to making cuts is the amount of allowable growth, which is yet to be set by the Iowa Legislature.

Tangen said the district is building the budget around an estimated 2 percent allowable growth, which is included in one of two proposals made by lawmakers.

Tangen said that although the reductions could be decreased if legislators pass a higher allowable growth, the cuts cannot go above $3.2 million.

The Resource Allocation Committee, which is made up of 25 representatives of the school district and the community, recommended several budget reductions, such as early retirement incentives, an insurance holiday, transportation efficiencies, and a 5 percent across-the-board reduction in building budgets for supplies.

Other recommendations include paid conditional busing, with an estimated savings of $132,000 and adding one student per class in grades third through five for an estimated savings of $300,000.

Board member Nikki DeFauw said she would like to see the across-the-board reductions cut down to only 2.5 percent.

“I’m really concerned about our cutting site budget ... we’ve gone to that well so many times,” she said.

Board member Larry Roberson said that although it’s “very, very painful,” the district can’t afford to take any proposal off the table at this point.

“We have to look deeper into our options to come up with that money,” Roberson said.

The board also directed Tate to continue to look at proposed school boundary changes.

Tate said the district needs to establish a transfer decision process regardless of what the boundary changes are.

Among some of the criteria proposed by Tate are whether the health of the student is negatively affected by remaining at the school and whether the student is attending a specialized program at a high school that would require him or her to stay for the majority of the school day.

In other business, the board approved increasing breakfast and lunch prices by 10 cents for students already paying full price.

School officials say the increase is federally mandated under the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act, which requires districts to raise meal prices gradually over the next several years until the price reaches $2.59.

That’s the current amount the government reimburses schools for students who receive free lunches.

The increase does not affect pre-kindergarten and reduced meal students.

(3) comments

longjohn412

Well we have to pay for that $200 million Tax Cut to the Egyptians some way

It's not like our kids are lacking in education ... well at least compared to Somalia or Haiti ....

Without highly educated and skilled Immigrants to man most of our upper echelon tech sectors we'd be on the fast track to the 3rd World because we sure aren't going to turn out the engineers we need from our Cut Rate public education system anymore ,,, We went from "Head Start" to "No Child Left Behind" to "What's the Absolute Minimum We Can Spend On Education?" in less than 20 years ....

TruthOnlyBeTold
TruthOnlyBeTold

Exporting jobs to Mexico, China and other counties for all those years is catching up on us. As our local and state tax base shrinks due to lower wages, states like Iowa will pay anything for a handful of good paying industrial type jobs if a company is savvy enough, as the Egyptians you mentioned were, to play one state against the other. It creates a feeding frenzy. Another thing the Egyptians did was in choosing Lee County....the Iowa county with the highest unemployment rate in the state. Don't think for a second they didn't know that and knew it would help to provide extra local incentives and cooperation.

And the bidding war for yet another fertilizer company that is courting Iowa (Mitchell County) and Illinois is starting again. How high will the price tag be this time? Bidding starts at $35M according to the article linked below.

http://qctimes.com/news/local/bidding-for-fertilizer-plant-could-top-million/article_a48e490c-8db0-11e2-8991-001a4bcf887a.html

sv79

Yes keep increasing prices for the paying students. Makes sense. Bleed em dry!

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