Wednesday, Dec. 26 2012 12:22PM
R-7 board urges Congress to stop budget cuts
By Toriano Porter
The Lee’s Summit R-7 Board of Education is taking a formal stand against impending budget cuts.
At its Dec. 20 meeting, the board approved a resolution urging the United States Congress and administration to amend the National Budget Control Act to alleviate impending drastic cuts to education.
The resolution also focuses on protecting education as an investment critical to economic stability and American competitiveness.
Federal education programs face more than an 8 percent budget cut in 2013 unless Congress intervenes. The across-the-board cuts to federal education programs that benefit the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District would occur under sequestration – defined as the cancellation of budgetary resources – that was enacted under the Budget Control Act of 2011.
“Given the budget cuts and adjustments our local schools have made in recent years, there is simply very little, if anything else, left to cut,” said David McGehee, R-7 superintendent. “Any further cuts in education funding could adversely affect the quality of our education programs.”
From 2008-09 through 2012-13, the R-7 School District enacted cost containment totaling approximately $70 million. The cost-containment measures list for the district was lengthy. It included reductions in staff members, a one-year district-wide salary freeze, reductions in elementary and secondary summer school programs, a teaching schedule change requiring high-school and middle-school instructors to teach an additional course each day, elimination of periodic teacher collaboration at elementary schools, deferring of textbook purchases, ongoing reductions to school and department budgets, deferring of maintenance and implementation of an activity fee for sports, music and other activities for middle and high schools.
Nationwide, sequestration would cut education funding by more than $4 billion.
According to the R-7 district, United States schools would lose an estimated $2.7 billion from just the following three federal programs: Title I grants, IDEA special education state grants and Head Start, which serve a combined 30.7 million children.
Currently, bipartisan negotiations are underway in Congress to develop an alternative to sequestration. The board’s resolution is one of numerous school boards across the nation adopting similar resolutions.
In other district news, board of education candidate filing began Dec. 18. The R-7 board has two seats open for election. Thus far two candidates have filed, current board member Phyllis Balagna and Bob White.
Candidate filing is open until Jan. 15, 2013.