Budget Outlook

Post date: Feb 5, 2011 6:06:32 PM

The Superintendent's Budget Development Committee held its first meeting for 2011 at the very end of January, right before the snowstorm shut down the schools for the rest of the week. The group will meet regularly from March through May to receive budget priorities from various departments and formulate a budget plan to recommend to the board of education. Committee members often jokingly refer to themselves as "the dirty dozen" as they are all too often charged with making recommended cuts when funding falls short.

Early projections of district finances show we can expect to lose over $2,000,000 in federal stimulus funding. The district can counter that with roughly $800,000 in federal jobs money left over from late in calendar year 2010 and a net increase of $240,000 from the mid-term adjustment after compensating for a continuing shortfall in Flexible Benefit funding.

If the district drew down net gains in the fund balance over the year, it would then have a projected shortfall of about $770,000 if state funding remained flat. However, this week Governor Fallin will unveil a budget plan which would cut state education funding by 3%, which would cost the district another $560,000. So, if the Governor's plan is adopted and funded by the legislature, even with drawing down the fund balance to prior year levels we would have to cut $1,330,000 and then we still need to consider how to pay for the minimal annual step increases for certified and classified employees and corresponding prorated salary increases for administrators.

Superintendent's Budget Development Committee for FY 2012:

Dr. Gary Quinn, Superintendent

Mr. Tim Green, Exec. Dir. of Business & Finance

Mr. Chuck McCauley, Exec. Dir. of Human Resources

Ms. Dianne Martinez, Exec. Dir. of Elementary Instruction

Mr. Sam Herriman, Exec. Dir. of Secondary Instruction

Mr. Jason Langham, Mid-High Principal and representative for secondary sites

Mr. Dave Mueller, Ranch Heights Principal and representative for elementary sites

Mr. Robert Snellgrove, BECPO representative for classified personnel

Mr. Granger Meador, BEA Chief Negotiator, representative for certified personnel

Mr. Doug Divelbiss, Board of Education Vice President

Ms. Nikki Benson, Board of Education Member

Mr. Rick Boswell, Board of Education Member

As it did in 2010, the committee will explore additional creative, albeit painful, solutions to reducing district expenditures. The district spent about $568,000 of its fund balance for fiscal year 2011, but fortunately the fund balance remains healthy, a stark contrast to the situation in some other districts. All of the above figures are tentative projections and subject to change as funding is received (or not). We often do not know where we will land until after the legislature adjourns in late May.

As always, refrain from using school email or phone services to lobby legislators. However, you should use your personal email and telephone services to contact your state legislators and share with them your concerns about school funding woes and consequent cuts. There are proposed bills for this session which would further limit property taxes and other vital revenue sources for public education. In this multi-year funding crisis it is vital that our legislators not make an already bad situation even worse.

Our local legislators hold key positions in the budget process:

State Representative Earl Sears is chair of the House Appropriations and Budget Committee.

State Representative Steve Martin is the House Assistant Majority Whip.

State Senator John Ford is Chair of the Senate Education Committee, Vice-Chair of the Senate Appropriation Subcommittee on Education, and serves on the Senate Appropriations Committee.