Keokuk, IA – The Keokuk School District is facing a roughly $900,000 shortfall in next year's budget. The school board is considering a plan to cut spending by about $1-million.
The plan includes the elimination of Kid Zone, the district's before-and-after school program, and the closing of Torrance Elementary School. The proposal drawing the most attention, though, involves the district not replacing a middle school position.
KMS band instructor Craig Bullis is retiring. Instead of filling the pending vacancy, the district plans to spread Bullis' duties amongst other music employees.
Superintendent Lora Wolff says the district does not want to reduce or cut instrumental music.
"In times when we are cutting kindergarten, first grade, second grade, high school math, and high school social studies," says Dr. Wolff, "you have to look at all programs."
The Keokuk School Board listened to public comments on the proposed cuts during its recent meeting. Most of the people who spoke out talked about the need to preserve the middle school band instructor post.
Students also presented the school board with a petition that calls for the job to be filled next year.
Dr. Wolff says members of the administrative team will review the district's entire music program and see if money could be saved in other areas. The Keokuk School Board could vote on the spending cuts on Monday, March 29.