The Herald Bulletin

Morning Update

Annual Report: Health & Public Service

March 27, 2011

Schools battered by budget cuts in 2010

Frankton-Lapel sees growth as others lose enrollment

ANDERSON, Ind. — In a year marked by budget cuts, failed referendums and declining enrollment, 2010 was hardly a banner year for area schools.

While all county school districts were forced to tighten their belts last year, no districts were harder hit than the cash-strapped Anderson and Elwood districts.

In Anderson, a $5 million deficit prompted the district to lay off more than 200 employees, including 163 teachers.

The district made a controversial decision at the start of the year when it consolidated the high schools into one and closed a number of elementary buildings.

The result of the backlash was the loss of more than 1,000 students.

Elwood, facing a $2.5 million deficit, had to cut its physical education and art programs to try to limit costs.

Elwood Superintendent Glen Nelson said the district lost 160 students since 2009 and couldn’t justify programs the district could no longer afford.

In November, both districts appealed to the voters, hoping a tax referendum would give them the boost in income they’d need to stay afloat.

It didn’t.

Both referendums failed.

Meanwhile, the Frankton-Lapel school district reaped the rewards of the exodus of students from Anderson and Elwood schools.

In 2010, the district had the highest number of transfer students in the entire state.

Not all of Frankton-Lapel’s 528 transfer students came from Anderson or Elwood, Frankton Superintendent Bobby Fields said, but transfers now make up 23 percent of Frankton-Lapel’s student body.

Not all news coming out of the struggling districts was bad.

ACS Superintendent Felix Chow is proud of the district’s handling of the budget shortfalls.

The budget dropped by $10 million from 2009 to 2010, he said. Expenses were cut by more than $11 million in one year, from $94.6 million to $83.2 million.

“When revenue drops so drastically, many organizations would have gone into bankruptcy.  This is quite an achievement in handling a financial crisis,” Chow said.

Barely into March, and 2011 is already looking like another tough year for education.

After winning the majority of both the House and Senate in November, Republican lawmakers began pushing bills that aimed to change education.

Favored by Gov. Mitch Daniels are pieces of legislation that would expand the presence of charter schools in Indiana while promoting school vouchers.

Vouchers would allow certain low-income families to send their students to private schools.

It’s something private schools applaud, but public school officials say vouchers, coupled with the charter school expansion, would spell disaster for public education.

Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Bennett said the governor and lawmakers are simply trying to expand school choice for Hoosier families.

“This is not about an assault on public education,” Bennett said.

The latest hit to the budgets of public schools came just last month when a proposed state budget reflected sharp cuts to education.

Nearly every school district in Madison County will see further budget cuts, under the plan, with Anderson and Elwood seeing an eight percent decline in revenues over the next two years.

The charter school, Anderson Preparatory Academy, will see a 40 percent increase in its budget under the plan.

Chow has recommended that ACS cut 82 more positions and close the Wigwam Complex in hopes of compensating for the loss.

Contact Brandi Watters: 640-4847, brandi.watters@heraldbulletin.com

1
Text Only
Annual Report: Health & Public Service
  • 0323 news AU 029.jpg Ivy Tech, AU engage students in community

    Though Ivy Tech is a system divided into 14 statewide regions with a total of hundreds of educational sites, community-based programs like the clinic help anchor a campus to a specific locality.

    March 28, 2012 1 Photo

  • 1223_news_Brown_02.jpg Brown leads student volunteers

    Many people don’t really know what the Urban League of Madison County has to offer their community. But Lindsay Brown, the organization’s president and CEO, hopes that will change soon.

    March 28, 2012 1 Photo

  • 1217 United Way 1.jpg Nonprofits rethinking the way they do business in today's economy

    United Way of Madison County president Nancy Vaughan has banded together with other local nonprofit organizations, business and local government agencies to find ways to stretch every dollar her organization receives.

    March 28, 2012 1 Photo

  • 0305 news Operation Love food bank18a.jpg Operation Love has big goals

    Operation Love Ministries may not have a huge budget, but the power of a large volunteer group and helpful spirit help the faith-based nonprofit have a giant impact in the lives of those it seeks to help.

    March 28, 2012 1 Photo

  • 4 AR_School budget story 23a.jpg Madison County school districts weather ups and downs

    It was another year of ups and downs for Madison County schools as some districts reaped the benefits of legislation like school choice while others suffered from it.

    March 28, 2012 1 Photo

  • Buck struggles with South Madison budget

    With the economy in a recession, schools such as South Madison are facing many challenges with budget cuts.

    March 28, 2012

  • 1015 news do something 034.jpg Area churches hope to spread message through outreach programs

    As the area’s largest and most visible church, Madison Park Church of God claims a membership of well over 2,000 people. However, the county as a whole is somewhat behind when it comes to religious presence.

    March 28, 2012 1 Photo

  • Main Street ministry small but full of life

    Anderson’s Main Street Church of God has been around for nearly one hundred years. Lately, the congregation has been reinvigorated with new members and a spirit of outreach, proving that you can indeed “teach an old church new tricks.”

    March 28, 2012

  • Local unions fight for fair wages, benefits

    For the past 20 years, the firefighters union has been a right-to-work union, according to John Smith, president of the Anderson Firefighters Local 1262. Despite this, there has been a 98 percent involvement rate among firefighters in Indiana.

    March 28, 2012

  • 2 AR_Scott Calhoun FOP president 06a.jpg Unions seek to make city government more efficient

    With the passage of House Bill 1001, unions are prohibited from forcing workers to join or pay dues and fees to a labor union. The bill was mired in controversy, which included a walkout by many democratic legislators during last year's session.

    March 28, 2012 1 Photo

More Resources from The Herald Bulletin
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Poll

Do you plan to attend any of the local Little 500 Festival events in May?

Yes
No
What events?
     View Results