This year’s reductions

Related article:  What does the future look like?

Following the failure of the November, 2012 levy, the administration recommended that we reduce $750,000 from this year’s budget.  This will help keep future reductions more reasonable by cutting sooner rather than later.

The administration has an option list of where we can recoup $750,000 this year.  Of the options, all are one-time cuts except custodial reductions, which would be ongoing.

The board provides philosophical direction to the administration, but does not actually direct any cuts.  However, last night, we voted to reduce eight custodial positions as of January.  This is savings of $180,000 this year, and $360,000/year ongoing.

This was not an easy decision; eight people lost their jobs.  I know none of the board members, or the administrators who recommended the reduction, took this decision lightly.  However, our responsibility is to work within the funds we have, and to preserve the level of education as much as possible.  I feel for those eight families, and I wish them the best in finding new positions, hopefully very soon.

Other reductions are:

  • Postpone HVAC work, $16,000:  These upgrades would save money in the long run, but we simply do not have the funds to invest right now.
  • Postpone the HS maintenance building, $80.000:  Once again, this is a project that will increase long-term efficiencies by having all our equipment in one place and freeing up more space for parking at the Junior High, but it is not practical right now.
  • Oldest laptop replacements delayed, $87,000:  Many of our laptops are 5-9 years old, but they are still working.  If they break, we will fix them if at all possible.
  • Curriculum & Instruction, $166,000:  We will delay adoption of English/Language Arts and World (Foreign) Language curriculum.  World Language will be delayed in full for a year, but we will implement some portions of English/LA, to be sure we are ready for the change to the Common Core.  Anything not spent in this category this year will be spent in the future, as these are necessary materials.
  • Salaries/benefits allocation, $176,000:  Since we cannot know how many students will actually start school in the fall, we overallocate for salaries/benefits to allow for additional teacher hirings if required.  This money is never just “spent” – it is always rolled into the carryover balance – but we are just pointing out that it is here and able to help us reach the $750,000 budget reduction required.
  • Building Budgets, $45,000:  We have frozen all building budgets that have not yet been spent and are not absolutely required for the rest of the year.

All board members agreed in discussion that we need to preserve curriculum/instructional materials as much as possible.  The C&I department and committees are continuing with curriculum revisions, and materials are not purchased until the end of the fiscal year.  By that time, we will have a better handle on what we’re able to save overall, and what our financial situation looks like for the next few years.  If we are able, this is an area that we can come back to, if funds are available.

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