District budget reduction plan passed

Davenport School Board votes 4-3 to pass five year budget reduction plan


Aiden Rushing

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Emma Bernick, Media Editor

On Tuesday Sept. 4, a special call school board meeting was held in the new Davenport Community School District board room located in the re-purposed J.B. Young school building. The meeting was called to approve the five year budget reduction plan created by the district administration, including Chief Financial Officer Claudia Wood.

The plan passed in a close 4-3 vote.

The plan must be delivered to the School Budget Review Committee (SBRC) by Sept. 15 for the hearing deadline. However, many directors stressed the difficulty of making a finalized budget decision on a plan lacking in specification.

“We all are very frustrated with this. I’m very hesitant to vote with projected numbers. We are constantly tweaking, but I do appreciate the fact that the numbers have to go in soon,” School Board Vice President Linda Hayes said during the meeting.

One of the most controversial topics in the budget is outsourcing, where the distrcit hires outside source to fufill duties, which is supposed to make it’s introduction into the budget during the 2019-2020 school year.

My belief is that [people] are going to hold our feet to the fire. They expect the board to take this seriously.”

— School Board President Ralph Johanson

“The idea of outsourcing is to provide the same level of services for a reduced cost. It is my estimation that we will be able to find savings in that,” Superintendent Dr. Art Tate said during the meeting.

Some strongly opposed this part of the plan due to the affect it may have on finances in the future.

“I’m not for outsourcing at all. I never will be. It might be cheaper on the front end, but later on it is going to cost us more. Once we let something go it is a lot harder and cost a lot more to get back,” School Board Director Daniel Gosa said during the meeting.

An often-discussed possibility in the budget reduction plan is the possibility of closing or merging an elementary school. The merging of an intermediate and elementary school would create an estimated savings of $800,000 to $1,300,000. However, no firm decisions have been made by the school board.

“My belief is that [people] are going to hold our feet to the fire. They expect the board to take this seriously. There are certain things that have been suggested in [the budget plan] that seem pretty serious, but it seems that the board has not taken the idea of closing a school or consolidating two schools in a serious enough way to say that they are going to do it,” School Board President Ralph Johanson shared during the meeting.

The board also voted on approving a request for Modified Supplemental Amount in the amount of $4,056,342 from the Iowa Department of Education, to which the board voted a unanimous yes.