Bellevue Schools Try to Make Sense of Planned State Cuts at Budget Season
The Bellevue Board of Education, like other school boards across Northern Kentucky and the state, is struggling to craft its next budget with uncertainty in Franfort related to proposed cuts to school districts and increased contributions to the pension system.
At its most recent, the board listened to Superintendent Robb Smith explain Gov. Matt Bevin's proposal to cut administrative costs by 12 percent in the first year and 24 percent in the second year.
"Our local boards are elected," he said. "I would question the legality of those administrative cuts."
Many of the proposed cuts will have substantial impacts on programs in the district. Two of the cuts, professional development for the teachers, and textbooks and materials, will not be continued next year.
Smith said he is not as concerned about transportation, because like most of the small inner city school districts, Bellevue doesn't transport students. But looking at the list of cuts, he said it is all bad news for the school districts.
"You can't shake with one hand and hit with the other," Smith said.
He warned that the cuts would affect preschool and after-school programs, as well as family resource centers.
Meanwhile, Bellevue's average daily attendance is lower than last year but Smith said that state funds through Securing Excellence in Education in Kentucky (SEEK) funds will remain the same.
"The programs we have that are in danger are a part of educating the whole child," said Smith. "We believe in taking care of the needs of the child so they can concentrate on learning."
There was a change in the officers for the board. Dan Sparks will be the new chair of the board, and Dan Swope will be the vice chair. Smith will continue to be the secretary.
The board approved giving the civics test to all high school students, and students have to pass with a 60 percent as part of a new accountability measure from the state.
Several students from Grandview Elementary and Bellevue High School were honored at the meeting for discipline and attendance.
Also, three teachers were honored at the meeting for achieving their National Board Teaching Certificates. Julie Qualls, Sara Teegarten, and Shari Stauffer completed their two-year course.
Written by Patricia A. Scheyer, RCN contributor