Appreciate the efforts by the LPS Administration and School Board

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The Lincoln Independent Business Association appreciates the efforts by the LPS Administration and School Board in holding the overall tax rate flat for the 2011-12 School Year Budget.  Although the General Fund levy will increase, a decrease in the bond levy results in no net overall increase in the tax rate from last year.  While this appears positive, we caution LPS to begin early to plan how to survive the revenue/spending cliff the District will most certainly face in the following year.

We remind you today that the District is now at its maximum levy. This proposed budget includes one-time expenditure reductions of $6.9 million and $6.9 million in revenue from the Federal Education Jobs Fund.

These two items alone could result in a gap of nearly $14 million next year!

Considering that the current valuation increase results in LPS anticipating an additional $2.4 million dollars this year, LIBA is curious to know how LPS anticipates meeting next year’s budget without a significant change in State Aid or a reduction of staff.

Good planning might suggest that some level of spending reductions in this budget year might lessen the height of the cliff to be scaled in the following year.  LIBA has always requested that any anticipated reductions be as far from the classroom as possible.

We continue to ask that the District make a meaningful commitment to privatize its educational support services as a means to reduce expenses without reducing teaching staff.  We would also suggest that the loss of the former District Office building affords the community a unique and opportune time for independent third party department audits to determine what staffing and operational efficiencies could be achieved both in space and personnel needs while still providing the necessary classroom support.

Efficiencies like these can be found, with lesser and greater degrees of difficulty.  As an easy example, LPS reallocated certain assistant superintendent duties instead of rehiring the position after Dave Myers retirement.  Similarly, LIBA recently sent a letter to this board requesting that the district thoroughly evaluate the need for each administrator, manager, instructional coach, cadre or other district office position and determine if the students throughout the District might be better served by moving those staff members back into the classroom.

In closing, we appreciate that the District is holding the overall levy flat but ask that you begin now to have conversations about next year’s cliff and what you, on behalf of the District and with the support of the patrons can do to maintain or reduce class sizes for our kids and stay within the lid.

If you are not a member of LIBA we would like to add your voice to our organization.  Business memberships are under $250 a year and individuals who believe in a conservative approach to government are also encouraged to join for only $100.  LIBA studies and promotes these types of issues that are important to businesses and our community.  If you have an interest in joining LIBA, please call me at 402-466-3419.

by Coby Mach, President & CEO
Lincoln Independent Business Association (LIBA)
http://liba.org/
402-466-3419