School counters failing economy

Staff members manage finances here at Webster Groves School District Central Office. (Photo by Austen Klein)

Austen Klein
Staff Writer

Like everything else, the Webster Groves School District is also affected by this economic downturn the U.S. is facing.

The school acquires income that can be broken down into three sources: federal, state and local. The federal and state revenue is decreasing while local revenue remains stagnant, so Webster has to use higher tax rates as a counter balance, and withhold 10% of its spending. This recession not only affects the amount of money the school acquires, but according to the NAR the money received is worth less, due to homes across the nation declining in value.

Investments can be a dangerous move, but the district holds no investments in the market. “The investments are in the students and creating a modern learning environment” says Chief Financial Officer of the Webster Groves School District, Diane Moore.

Cuts, which go from cheaper equipment to as far as staffing reduction, are being made so schools can maintain a healthy budget. The superintendent’s secretary administrative assistant who has resigned recently and hasn’t been replaced. Others have been laid off. Action has also been taken on utility costs through upgraded lighting for a more efficient, less expensive, and long term plan, and it just happens to be a little friendlier to the environment.

On another financial issue, lunch prices are rising not due to a crumbling economy but because of a Federal requirement which is directly related to the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act. According to the document, the use of these funds (which are collected through the gradual increase in lunch prices) are then provided to state agencies for the administration of programs authorized under this act or the Child Nutrition Act of 1966. While legislation mandates that prices increase until a target is met (which varies school to school), it will be met at a gradual rate. The bipartisan legislation which was signed by President Obama on Dec. 13, 2010 provides healthier and more nutritious foods at schools.

As Diane Moore said, “We’re lucky our community supports education as strong as ever and is willing to pay higher taxes to support it.”

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