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  Wednesday January 28th, 2015    

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WAPS budget cuts examined (02/10/2013)
By Emily Buss

The Winona Area Public School (WAPS) board reexamined 21 proposed budget adjustments Thursday that would cut $500,000 from the 2013-2014 school year spending plan.

At the top of the list of recommendations is a proposed shift in classroom size that administrators have said could save the district $110,000 per year. However, increasing classroom targets by two students worried some board members.

“I think it is important to keep in mind that the class sizes of other, non-public schools have smaller elementary sizes than [we],” board member Jay Kohner said. “For many parents, the important thing is class size. If we are looking at increasing class sizes, I think we should try to keep early grades [class sizes] as low as possible.”

Board member Ben Baratto agreed and said smaller class sizes appeal to parents of children in lower grades.

After discussion turned to the possibility of redistricting, board chair Mohamed Elhindi said while increasing class sizes could potentially redraw district lines, it was not a given.

“We are hoping we won’t have to do that but we don’t really know until we start the staffing process in March,” WAPS Human Resources Director Pat Blaisdell said.

Superintendent Scott Hannon said earlier this month that current enrollment projections could require a change in boundaries, specifically at Rollingstone Elementary. He added Thursday that he was “confident” that increasing the class size targets by two would not have significant detrimental effects.

A specific revenue producer discussed was raising the high school student parking pass fee from $65 to $80 annually. The added $15, Winona Senior High School principal Kelly Halvorson said, would bring in funds and wasn’t a large enough increase to deter drivers from purchasing the passes.

Other cuts that top the list are a $50,000 reduction in the amount allocated to textbooks, a $40,000 collective reduction from clerical departments at both the middle school and high school, and a $28,000 reduction in instructional supplies for all departments in the district.

“I am confident that no teacher will go without supplies he or she needs,” Hannon said. “It’s one thing to buy appropriate things out of your own pocket, but it’s another to buy frilly things. We’re not going to be buying frilly things; we’re buying necessary instructional supplies.”

According to recent budget projections, the district must also cut $750,000 for 2014-2015, and $450,000 for 2015-216.

The board is expected to vote on the proposed budget cuts at its meeting later this month.

Full list of

budget reductions

• Restructure elementary

emotional behavioral

disorder programs and day

treatment services

- $38,000

• .6 reduction of Middle

School electives

(Family and Consumer

Sciences)*- $33,000

• Charge back human

resources and information

services to school

nutrition and community

services- $25,000

• Four-day work week for

eight weeks in the summer

- $26,312

• Restructure Middle School

in-school suspension

- $21,153

• Reduction of .2

administrator* - $20,000

• Restructure high school

and middle school safety

specialist schedules

- $16,000

• Reduce school nutrition,

maintenance position by .3

full-time equivalent*

- $15,000

• Reduce special education

lead teacher position at the

middle school by .4 full

time equivalent*- $15,000

• Move Greenhouse

Program to a different

location- $10,000

• Reduce elementary

consumable instructional

supplies- $10,000

• Replace Lotus Notes and

MS Office with Google

(G-Mail and apps)

- $10,000

• Change property insurance

parameters- $10,000

• Close middle school

pool early- $7,000

• Reduce copy usage- $6,000

*A full-time employee has a status of 1.0, while lower decimals represent a fraction of full-time status 


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