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Letter to the Editor - from Kera Birkeland

Article Date: 
21 June, 2013 (All day)

Dear Editor:
Last week one of our school board members wrote to the editor that he didn’t think anyone could go through the school budget and find anywhere that could be cut.
So I got a copy of the budget and looked at it for myself.  It took me about 10 minutes and some quick math on the back of a napkin to find $464,177 dollars that can easily be cut from the budget.
The key is we need to change to a four day school week.  This would save us 20% on our transportation costs, pay to aids and paraprofessionals, substitute teachers, health and guidance personnel, media personnel, secretarial staff, and food service workers.  And that is not even counting savings on utilities and subsidized breakfasts and lunches (good luck finding those numbers in the budget). 
But if you include utilities and meals I estimate we can easily save $500,000. It is a pretty obvious fix considering over 300 districts in the U.S. have already switched to four day weeks.  Most of these districts are in rural areas with high busing costs just like ours.  Individuals at the Utah State Office of Education, School Law and Legislation office, indicated that this process is simple. There is no reason why Morgan School District couldn’t go to a 4 day school week by the fall of 2013-2014 if they choose to go this route.   
It is a win-win solution since it would not require any tax increases or any cuts to the pay of our teachers, principals, and vice principals.  This would easily cover this years budget shortfall of $347,000 and give us a nice surplus. 
The school board should have thought of this before trying to raise our taxes.  
I am going to vote NO on the levy. A four day week is a much better solution to our problems.
Kera Birkeland