Lee’s Summit R-7 School District in fifth year of cost containment
Cumulative total is $70 million from 2008-09 through 2012-13
The Lee’s Summit R-7 School District continues to focus on what is best for students despite necessary budget cuts and deferred expenses enacted in recent years. Although the district will have implemented cost containment totaling approximately $70 million from 2008-09 through the end of this school year, solid fiscal management and financial planning has resulted in the R-7 School District having the ability to address some class size needs this year.
Losses in state and local funding resulted in the district implementing significant cost containment beginning in 2008-09. During the 2010-11 school year, a community-wide team was involved in development of comprehensive budget recommendations that are serving as a guide for ongoing cost containment. This group examined long-term financial planning and cost-containment measures already enacted, projected enrollment growth and increasing expenditures, such as utilities, transportation and employee benefits.
Budget reductions since 2008-09 have included reductions in staff members in administration, instruction and support staff positions; a one-year district-wide salary freeze; implementation of combination classrooms at elementary schools; reductions to the elementary and secondary summer school programs; a teaching schedule change requiring high-school and middle-school instructors to teach an additional course each day; deferring of textbook purchases; ongoing reductions to school and department budgets; elimination of periodic teacher collaboration at the elementary schools; deferring of maintenance; implementation of activity fees for sports, music and other activities in middle and high schools; a 20-percent cut to extra-duty salaries and operating expenses impacting extra-curricular activities; and increases to community-use fees for district facilities and grounds.
For the 2012-13 school year, Lee’s Summit R-7 has reinstated a total of 21 positions that were part of staffing reductions over the last four years. These reductions totaled approximately 170 employees or close to 7 percent of the district’s workforce. Of the 21 positions added for 2012-13, 80 percent are instructional staff members who have a direct impact on class sizes.
District administrative staff worked closely with principals to identify the most pressing staffing needs based on class sizes and, in some cases, based on students with special needs. As a result of this thorough review, additional teachers were hired for 2012-13 at several schools. The number of elementary combination classrooms throughout the district has also been reduced to just one, down from a handful of combo classes during previous years
“Although challenges remain, thanks to the work of the community team recommending our plan as well as our budget managers across the district, our class sizes look as good as they have since the inception of this necessary cost containment,” said Dr. David McGehee, R-7 superintendent.
Dr. McGehee added that R-7 employees throughout the district deserve much of the credit for the district’s outstanding schools during these challenging economic times.
“We are especially grateful to R-7 staff members who have continued to work to minimize the impact of cost containment on our students,” he added. “It is also important to remember that the cost containment is continuing with $21 million in budget cuts still in place during this school year.”