24 Jun Neosho School District Braces for More State Funding Cuts (MO)

June 24, 2010

By: Greg Grisolano
Source: The Joplin Globe

The Neosho School District is planning to cut expenditures by more than $1.15 million and also spend down its reserves by $1 million to weather reductions in state allocations.

Members of the Neosho School Board this week approved a preliminary budget of about $34.8 million for the coming school year. Revenues are projected at about $34.3 million, leaving a deficit of $500,000 to be funded from reserves. The 2009-10 school year budget was estimated at about $38 million.

To compensate for reductions in state funding, the district is not filling 7.5 teaching posts and 11.5 teacher-assi stant posts for the next school term. The positions are at the elementary, middle school and high school levels, and the cutbacks are expected to save the district more than $505,000.

The district also is putting capital projects estimated at $150,000 on hold, and it is postponing the purchase of any new buses in the next fiscal year, saving $310,000.

Superintendent Richard Page said the final state numbers are expected to be released later this summer, leaving the possibility that the measures taken might not be enough.

All told, Page estimates that the district will be spending $1 million from its cash reserves to cover the deficits for the 2009-10 budget and the 2010-11 budget.

New administrator

The board this week reversed an earlier decision and agreed to hire an assistant superintendent of business and finance, possibly in a move toward grooming a successor to Page.

Page said Jim Cummins received a one-year contract worth $100,593. Cummins’ mother, Shirley Cummins, serves on the school board, and she abstained from voting on the contract, Page said..

The new administrator is a native of Neosho and previously worked for the Carl Junction School District.

The board had decided in April not to hire a replacement for Charles Brazeale because of budget constraints. Page said the panel reconsidered after receiving an update on fund balances before Monday’s meeting.

“His position will be another set of eyes on the budget, and help us make sure our budget is able to be prudent and we’re running an efficient operation,” Page said.

Page also suggested that the action is a nod at establishing a succession plan for the district. Page’s contract expires on June 30, 2011.

“I think the board shared that with me,” he said. “There needed to be somebody there in the district.”

Page said he has not made any decisions or had discussions with the board about his future, either renewing his contract or retiring.

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