District Budget Proposal Unveiled

Post date: May 7, 2010 3:16:37 AM

The Superintendent presented the proposed 2010-2011 budget to the Board of Education at its noon meeting on Thursday, May 6. The proposal from the Superintendent's Budget Development Committee will be considered by the Board for action at its regular meeting on Monday, May 17. Public comment will be allowed at that meeting.

Granger Meador, BEA Chief Negotiator, is a member of the Committee and you can view or download his summary of the proposed additions and deletions.

Highlights include:

  • The proposal assumes a cut in state aid of 10% next year. With other income changes factored in, a balanced budget would require a cut of $1,987,000. The proposal reaches that goal.
  • Every district employee would receive a typical annual step increase, with those stuck at the top of the certified and classified schedules receiving a one-time stipend. This is justified despite the cuts by the need to advance along the schedule, increasing insurance costs, and documentation that our career teachers are paid below the average of our peer in-state districts. It is mitigated by the healthy size of the district fund balance, which is projected to be the same as last year at 14% despite it absorbing state funding cuts throughout this school year.
  • Sizable non-personnel cuts include not buying math textbooks in this adoption year, shifting some expenses from the general fund to the building and bond funds, and site budget cuts (for supplies, etc.) that could range from 22.5% to 35% if the full level of cuts is adopted.
  • Net personnel cuts include four classified personnel and the equivalent of twenty-three certified teachers, many of whom would be teachers now on temporary contracts. One substantial cost savings was shutting down the Will Rogers Early Childhood Center one year earlier than planned.
  • District programs adversely affected by the cuts include Family and Consumer Sciences and Foreign Language, although there would still be FACS programs in grades 6-10 and a full complement of Spanish classes across the grade levels, with some French offered at the Mid-High and some German in grades 9-12. A number of core subject teachers in the secondary schools would be cut, increasing class sizes and/or teaching loads.
  • Despite these cuts, the average class size in K-5 would be 21 with projected enrollments ranging from 15 to 26 students per class. Average class sizes would be 24-25 at the middle schools with teaming adversely impacted by the cuts, but not eliminated. Average class sizes at the Mid-High would be 22, although teacher loads would increase with the move from a 6-period to a 7-period day. Average class sizes at the Senior High would be 25. At each secondary site some classes would be significantly smaller or larger than these averages.

The Board was told that having a healthy fund balance was great news since federal stimulus dollars run out next year. If the state economy does not pick up, we could face another $1,200,000 in cuts next year. So the Board might then wish to dip heavily into the fund balance to weather those cuts, awaiting an improved state economy.

There was some discussion about possibly dipping into the fund balance this year to reduce the site budgets cuts from the current 22.5% to 35% to only 12.5% to 25%. Concern was also raised about some BHS science classes reaching an average of 31 students per lab in rooms designed for 28 students - the Board might consider dipping into the fund balance to help reduce science lab sizes in grades 9-12.

Teachers and patrons may contact Board of Education members about their concerns, or wait to address the Board in public comment on May 17. We may not know our actual state funding cuts until late May. If they are significantly different than the projected 10%, the Superintendent's Budget Development Committee would reconvene to consider a recommendation to the board on an amended budget for action in mid-June.