Cost of Cuts

MPS could suffer more losses than money

Haley Elder, In-Depth Editor

It is common knowledge that a flower will not fully bloom if it is not properly nourished. Likewise, MPS cannot flourish without the proper financial support. Currently, MPS resides in a large area of drought which was created by a low budget and many high costs.

The Millard district is facing a deficit of $14.2 million. For MPS, the cost of business increases 3% per year, with factors such as teacher salaries and technology prices increasing due to inflation. However, from the 2009-2010 school year to the 2017-2018 school year state aid has remained stagnant.

Because of this, MPS Superintendent Jim Sutfin has had to prune off staff members, certain courses, and many programs in order to lessen the area of drought. The courses that have been selected to abandon are the ones with the least amount of impact on students.

This “selective abandonment” can be seen at MN. After Latin teacher Julia Kolander retires, Latin will no longer be taught. It has also been speculated that high schools will no longer be able to offer eight classes. This would eliminate zero and eighth hour at MN, and eliminate block scheduling at MS and MW. Overall, this limits the amount of credits one can earn during their high school career.

Another area that may face cuts is Millard’s staff.

“When you have to cut large amounts of money like we have for several years, it’s hard not to cut people because they make up such a large percent of the budget,” MPS Director of Activities Nolan Beyer said.

The restricted budget has lead to the removal of three teaching positions and one administrative position. If this binded budget remains, more staffing positions will be lost.

Suggestions have been made to trim down on the number of high school teachers, which would lead to larger class sizes in every Millard high school.

Since MPS has been in a bind for almost a decade, there are not many “low impact” cuts left to make. If the budget does not increase, MPS would be forced to trim away aspects that are most valued among the district.

However, this does not need to be the fate for MPS. Sutfin has come up with a way to create rain for the root of the problem.

The solution to the problem resides within the Millard community. Currently, every household in Millard pays a property tax of $1.22 per $100 of the value of their home.

This is the lowest tax levy in Omaha. MPS has proposed to raise the tax 9 cents. After bringing the levy up to $1.31, MPS would have the second lowest tax levy, costing 1 cent more than Papillion La-Vista’s  levy of $1.30.

“What I can’t do as Superintendent is to keep cutting and cutting and cutting until I know what the community wants to do,” Sutfin said.

BALANCING THE BUDGET – Prospective cuts if levy does not pass…

  • Reduces an instructional day
  • Eliminate six elementary reading/math interventions positions
  • Eliminated .5 middle school position
  • Eliminated one social worker
  • Eliminated 1 early childhood position
  • Eliminated 8 custodial positions
  • Eliminated 1 opd school resource officer
  • Eliminated warehouse manager
  • Reduced utilities and technology