Budget Cuts and Early Resignations Addressed by USD 320 School Board

 Wamego’s USD 320 is looking at the budget cuts made since 2008. At Monday’s Board meeting, Superintendent Denise O’Dea presented a list of cuts due to the $653 decrease in the Base State Aid Per Pupil. For the Wamego schools,that decrease translated in a $1.5  million loss in funding. The list of cuts totaled almost $600,000.

The cuts that caught the Boards attention were the elimination of the summer school program, and the elimination of the extended school day at both Central Elementary and West Elementary. These were deemed successful programs, and the board would like to see them reinstated in some way. The Board asked Central Principal Teri Dow and West Principal Amy Flinn to put together a proposal for a similar program by the December board meeting.

The USD 320 Board reviewed the policy for early resignation of contract employees. This issue was briefly discussed at the August Board meeting, and after research by Superintendent Denise O’Dea, was discussed in detail at Monday’s Board meeting. According to the policy, if any teacher resigns or fails to honor the terms of the employment contract, the teacher shall pay the district liquidated damages. O’Dea’s research showed Wamego’s penalties were very reasonable.

The current policy states if any teacher resigns after the legal date for the notice of intent not to return for the coming year, these damages will apply:
· Legal date until June 30 is $1,000 .
· From July 1st to July 31st is $2,000.

From August 1 thru the first day of contract (usually first day of school) is $4,000·

After the school year has begun, $750 plus $75 for each month of the work period remaining on the contract.

The board amended the policy to increase the liquidated damages to $4,000 effective from August 1 to the end of the contract period or the end of the school year, with the caveat that the board reserves the right to reduce or waive the damages for any resignation during the stated window of time.

Also at Monday’s Board of Education meeting, approval was given for three travel requests. The Wamego High School FBLA class will attend a regional meeting in Denver in November. About eight members of FFA will attend the National FFA contest in Indianapolis, IN in October, and Lotus Hazlett’s Spanish Club will attend a ballet performance in Kansas City in March. Board member Mark Bettencourt raised the question of the connection between ballet and Spanish with the latter request, and was told the ballet could be in Spanish.

Jennifer Topliff asked for and was granted permission to hold Sunday matinée performances for both the fall and spring shows at Wamego High. She said she is required to get board approval because Sunday’s were protected for the students. There was very little discussion before the vote was unanimous.