NCSD: Proposed funding to offset elimination of school supply, classroom fees and ticket sales sufficient - Casper, WY Oil City News
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NCSD: Proposed funding to offset elimination of school supply, classroom fees and ticket sales sufficient

NCHS theatre members perform “Oklahoma!” during dress rehearsal on Tuesday, March 14, 2019, at NCHS. (Dan Cepeda, Oil City)

CASPER, Wyo. — Natrona County School District Public Relations Officer Tanya Southerland provided additional information about proposals the budget committee is recommending to the NCSD Board of Trustees.

The budget committee is recommending that the school board eliminate the collection of classroom fees from students, parents and guardians and is suggesting that the school board establish a policy that parents and guardians no longer be asked or required to purchase school supplies.

Should the recommendation be adopted, the school district would provide $45 per student to help purchase school supplies.

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“Staff members reviewed historical class supply lists across the district [to arrive at $45 per student],” Southerland said.

Southerland said that the recommendation is part of the budget committee’s efforts to decentralize the budget process and operate more efficiently.

“NCSD utilizes a ‘decentralized’ budget process which allows for funds to be allocated to each school,” an April 29 NCSD release reads. “This process allows for the school budget team, composed of various stakeholders, to prioritize and utilize the funds in the best way possible for their individual school.”

Southerland said that each school has a budget committee team which would be responsible for deciding how the funds allocated to their school should be distributed.

“We truly honor that each team knows what’s best,” she said.

Southerland added that the district is aware that some teachers are concerned that $45 per student may be insufficient. But she said that teachers have been working hard to reduce their classroom costs.

“They kind of have been shrinking the school supply lists,” she said. “What are the required and needed supplies?”

Southerland emphasized that the recommendation would also apply to classroom fees. She pointed out that at the high school level, some classes such as tech, art and culinary classes charge a classroom fee for the supplies that they use.

“Parents are writing check or providing these funds,” she said.

Under the budget committee’s recommendation, Southerland said that each school’s team could determine what amount of their allocation goes toward these classes which have greater supply costs.

She said that the proposed change would alleviate the financial burden placed on parents and guardians.

The budget committee’s recommendation to eliminate the sale of athletic and activities tickets would also align with the efforts to decentralize the budget process.

Southerland said this recommendation would apply to all activities, including things like theatre program performances. She said that the school district would allocate $75,000 to both Natrona County High School and Kelly Walsh High School to offset the funds they currently receive from ticket sales.

Each school’s budget committee team would be responsible for how these funds are distributed.

Southerland again said the district is aware of some concerns that this amount would be insufficient to support all activities, but said the budget committee thinks the amount is enough.

“District staff surveyed the schools to identify the amount of funds the schools receive currently from fees/ticket sales/etc. from all programs and activities,” she said. “The amount of funds allocated, $75,000 to each school, is enough to cover the amount currently received by ticket sales/fees with some additional room remaining.”

She said that the school board recognizes the importance of all activities.

“The trustees have zero intention to see programs diminished,” Southerland said.

Southerland said that the proposed changes would help the district align with Board Policy 5140, which oversees what types of fees schools are allowed to ask parents and guardians to cover.

The proposed changes are part of the School Allocations portion of the Fiscal Year 2020 Conceptual Budget Plan that the budget committee is recommending to the school board. Southerland said that these are just two notable aspects of that conceptual plan.

The trustees won’t vote on a final Fiscal Year 2020 budget until July 10. Southerland said that the exact details of the budget committee’s proposals could change between now and then.

Details about the conceptual budget plan are available online.