(HALSTEAD, Kan.)—Closed door meetings, crunching numbers and stress are what many Kansas school superintendents are dealing with right now. They're trying to figure out how to deal with the governor's $50 million budget cut to schools. The governor approved the cut late Friday which translates to $22 per student.
While Halstead students learn about economics from around the world, their superintendent sits at a computer trying to make sense of budget cuts from Topeka. "We want to make sure we're planning and keeping the stress we're all feeling away from the students," said Halstead Superintendent Cory Gibson. But to make the cuts the governor approved Friday, the small district must cut $48,000 with three months left in the school year. "Because of our size, when a cut does occur everybody feels it, sees it, knows it," he said.
The Halstead School Board anticipated this would happen, so last month it approved 20 cost cutting measures. The district had to get creative to save money. For example, it removed 200 light bulbs from the hallways to save about $700. It's not a lot of money, but it all adds up. Other changes include turning thermostats down one degree, removing printers from classrooms and putting the girls and boys teams on the same bus for games. "We're down to the bare necessities,"Gibson said.
The changes should cover the rest of this year's budget. But Gibson says with more cuts expected next school year, they will directly impact students. He says the only things left to cut are programs and people. The Halstead District will start dealing with those possibilities once lawmakers approve a budget for 2012.