District Budget Update

Post date: Mar 30, 2010 8:10:16 PM

The Superintendent’s Budget Development Committee continues to meet. We are still gathering budgeting information from the various functions, which include planned cuts, and then about three weeks from now we will begin prioritizing the combined lists and later comparing our total list of possible cuts against expected revenues. That process will continue until late May, when we hope to have a firmer funding estimate from the legislative process.

Teachers who are in their first year in Bartlesville are on temporary contracts. They have already been notified, as we do each year, that those contracts may not be renewed. This year that notice is of particular importance since, despite the significant personnel cuts we expect, the current plan is to cover those via attrition and reassignments and hopefully NOT through a reduction-in-force. That is, by not renewing many temporary contracts and reassigning certified teachers to other subjects and to other sites it is expected that we can likely balance the budget without having to lay off teachers who are on continuing contracts.

While that is good news for many of us, the pain will nevertheless be intense as we boost class sizes and restructure across the grade levels to absorb the cuts. We are anticipating a need to cut $2 million to $2.2 million from the budget, which is a cut of over 5%.

The fund balance will remain healthy and could land above 10%, but a firm estimate is impossible at this time because so many variables are in play. (We started the year with 14% and in many past years ran at about 8%.) That is good news since there is the significant threat of additional major cuts in 2011-2012 as federal stimulus dollars run out at both the state and local levels. Unless the economy rebounds or additional stimulus dollars are appropriated, we might be relying on the fund balance to ease our way down. However, that also means it is more difficult to use the existing fund balance to offset planned cuts for 2010-2011.

-Granger Meador, BEA Chief Negotiator