Luther Public Schools Looking At 'Painful' Budget Cuts

Thursday, March 31st 2016, 6:52 pm
By: News 9, Lacie Lowry

Luther Public Schools is going back to the drawing board to figure out how to save more than $700,000 due to the state budget crisis.

Board members delayed a vote on a plan earlier this week due to heated exchanges.

Luther Public Schools is already cutting out Fridays in April to make a four-day week to save money on operating and transportation costs. LPS leaderships knows they need to make at least $700,000 more in cuts for next year, or a 10% reduction, but the problem is agreeing on where to cut.

“We believe that everyone is on the same page, we just can't agree on how to get there,” Superintendent, Dr. Sheldon Buxton told News 9.

Buxton said the district actually needs to cut closer to 15% in case the 2016-2017 budget is worse than expected.

“Anything and everything, there is nothing off the table for consideration,” Buxton explained.

District policy states the cuts come first from attrition by not replacing employees who leave on their own, then programs and finally jobs.

A task force has recommended cutting eight full-time teachers, eight teacher’s aides and eliminating art, music and fabrication programs, but the school board delayed a vote on that plan.

Board members also delayed a vote on a four-day week for all of the 2016-2017 school year or shortening the school year by a month, both of which would save an additional $150,000 each.

Buxton is having the task force come up with an entirely new plan in case the school board shoots down the current proposal entirely.

“No matter what happens, it's painful,” Buxton said.

Some people have accused Buxton of mismanaging the district's funds. He said there has been too much finger pointing and not enough action.

“What has been done, we cannot fix, what we do from this point forward is the key,” Buxton added.

The task force could come up with a new plan within the next two weeks for the school board. The board could also reconsider the current proposal soon.