McPherson USD 418 Board of Education members made their first round of cuts Monday as the district attempts to find at least $620,000 in funding cuts and decreases. Multiple funding cuts throughout the year have left the district with more expenses than revenue. All cuts will be implemented during the 2010-11 school year. District superintendent Dr. Randy Watson said there is a possibility the state will further reduce education funding, which means the board would have to move forward with additional cuts. Board members have already outlined a phase 2 of proposed cuts, which would be approved if necessary. Budget discussions for next school year must happen now because school’s fiscal year resets in July. The district must also know if it wishes to eliminate any teaching positions by May 10.
 State law requires school districts to inform teachers by May 1 whether they want to extend their contract for another year or terminate their employment at the end of the school year. A new law, signed by Governor Mark Parkinson, extends that deadline to May 10. But, the law must be pushlished in the state register for it to become legal. That is scheduled to occur Thursday but the board has scheduled a special meeting for 4 p.m. Friday if the law is not published and they, consequently, having to make personnel decisions before May 1.
The board approved what they have termed their phase 1 cuts Monday. Those cuts included:

Use of Textbook dollars (one time) - $200,000
The board has been putting away money for the adoption of math textbooks. By using this
money, it helps this fiscal year. The money must at sometime be replaced so that books can again
be ordered.
Reduce Custodial operations and staff by 10 percent - $100,000
An outside analysis of the district’s custodial and maintenance staffing was conducted. This report
combined with the report from Emporia State University a few years ago indicate that the district
is overstaffed in this area. Therefore, the board has asked the Director of Operations, Sheldon Anderson, to cut 10 percent from his budget next year.
Shift additional maintenance and custodial salaries to capital outlay - $42,000
By moving some additional maintenance and custodial salaries to capital outlay, the general fund
can be relieved of up to $100,000.
Close lunch at McPherson High School - $30,000
By closing lunch for juniors and seniors at MHS, the food service program can make enough
money to allow indirect costs of insurance, utilities, etc. to be charged to their program. This
frees up money to be used for the operations of the district. The change will be phased-in allowing next year’s senior class to continue to leave for lunch. The district will only realize $30,000 in saving next year but will see the full $60,000 in savings during the 2012-13 school year.
*To replace the lost $30,000 for next school year, the board approved moving and additional $30,000 in custodial salaries to capital outlay.
Eliminate central office Copy Center - $40,000
The district lease on the large copier at the central office is completed this year. Cost of copying
has come down significantly since the concept of central copying was introduced in the 1980s.
A distributive model will save the district $40,000.
Reduce staff at MHS - $40,000
By looking at areas where enrollment is low and reducing staff in those areas, the district can
save money for other programs. The areas to be reduced would be business and auto tech.
Do not purchase library books for one year $35,000
By not purchasing books for one year, the district can free up some additional funds for
operations. This money will need to be put back in future years.
Increase percentage of principal salaries from Headstart and Special Education funds - $25,000
By transferring some costs of running a self contained special education program at MHS, McPherson Middle School and Lincoln Elementary School to the general fund, some of the district’s principal costs can be transferred. In addition, by moving pre-kindergarten programming to all buildings, some principal costs can be transferred to Head Start. This frees
up money in the general fund.
Reduce Transportation 10 percent - $25,000
By combining regular bus routes and do more maintenance of the busses in-house, the district can save
money in this budget. This proposal will require a few families to receive reimbursement for
mileage instead of being transported.
Combine Learning Center and McPherson Alternative Center staff - $25,000
By combining some staff between the district run alternative school program with the
ESSDACK dropout recovery program, both programs can realize savings.
Eliminate Parents as Teachers Program - $20,000
Parent as Teachers serves children birth to age 3. State funding for this program is in serious
jeopardy. The county superintendents feel this is an area they can also cut from their budget.
*McPherson County Special Education Cooperative director Gordon Mohn said the decision to eliminate funding for the Parents As Teachers program was one that was agreed upon by the county’s superintendents. It is a county-wide program that all districts help fund. Some lawmakers have considered eliminating the state’s portion of funding for the program all together meaning districts would have to fund the entire amount if they wishi to retain the service.
Cut overtime for classified staff - $15,000
By eliminating overtime for classified staff, the district will save money.
Cut Athletic Transportation $10,000
The district provides a block amount of money to the high school for all transportation (field
trips, band, debate and sports). This action would short the district contribution to the high
school. The difference would need to be made up in gate receipts.
Eliminate two Basketball coaches $7,000
Elimination of two basketball coaches – one boys and one girls, allows for money for other
Eliminate Gallup INSIGHT for Principals/Directors $6,000
We have used Gallup to help screen for new principals and directors. This drops the service for
one year.
Total savings from phase 1 cuts for the 2010-11: $620,000

The district’s golf team and boys and girls swim teams were removed from the list after discussion among board members. During Monday night’s meeting, the board offered to share the cost of the program with the programs themselves, reducing their cost of the program by 50 percent. Parent representatives for the swimming programs said they would accept the board’s offer. A parent representative for the golf program thanked the board for their offer and said he would take the proposal back to the golf program. The shift is thinking by the board is a result of input and comments by parents during the board’ April 12 meeting board member Jeff Johnson said.
The board will hold its next regular meeting Monday, May 10.