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South Washington County Schools

2015-16 Budget Planning

School Board moves forward with revised list of Budget Adjustments at their meeting on Feb. 19

At their regular meeting on Feb. 19, the School Board was presented with a revised set of budget adjustments to be implemented for the 2015-16 school year. Administration presented the list based on further consideration of proposed adjustments and review of public input. The revised list moving forward includes:

  • Increase staffing ratio by 1 at all schools ($1,402,500 / 25.5 FTE)
  • Insert Media Specialist in prep rotation, thus eliminating World Language at Elementary Schools ($550,000 / 10 FTE)
  • Eliminate TOSA positions ($330,000 / 6 FTE)
  • Eliminate administrative positions ($250,000 / 2 FTE)
  • Suspend / Reduce MAP testing ($71,800)
  • Reduce high school clerical budgets (including sub budget) ($120,000 / 3 FTE)
  • Reduction in nursing staff ($110,000 / 2 FTE)
  • Reduction in high school parking lot security ($90,000)
  • Discontinue READ180/Reading Counts license ($37,000)
  • Suspend bus purchases for one year ($700,000)
  • Reduce Transportation administrative Budget ($90,000)
  • Reduction in school and departmental capital allocations ($242,656)
  • Adding a year to life cycle of instructional computers ($433,000)
  • Medical Assistance Billing Efficiencies ($220,000)
  • Increase activity fees by $10 per activity ($35,580)

TOTAL PROPOSED ADJUSTMENTS - $4,682,536

The new adjustment amount is the result of the board’s approval to adjust the fund balance policy as needed for the 2015-16 school year. The School Board will begin a discussion on the need for operating referendum in the near future. Other proposed adjustments (totaling $3,417,900) that are being delayed until such time in the future that adjustments are needed include:

  • Additional reduction in secondary staffing ($385,000)
  • Reduction in special education staffing ($180,400)
  • Elimination of band and orchestra at elementary schools ($467,500)
  • Reduction of Reading Recovery at elementary schools ($385,000)
  • Contracted Transportation services ($2,000,000)

The result moving forward has the 2015 ending fund balance at 5.1%, and the 2016 ending fund balance at 2.9%. Future possible revenues from an operating referendum or the legislature will be needed to return the fund balance to the board policy of 5-9%. Without additional revenues, the delayed adjustments would be required for the 2016-17 school year.

As the 2015-16 budget adjustments are implemented, further discussions will take place at the Board level prior to final approval of the 2015-16 budget in June. The first step, approving revised staffing ratios occurred at the meeting on Feb. 19. Other considerations previously mentioned will be monitored as they may cause a change in what the Board approved on Feb. 19. Those include future referendum, legislative outcomes, changes in enrollment and seasonal factors relative to operations of the district.


2015-16 Budget Planning Overview

Administration has been reviewing the status of the general fund following the recent audit release. The result indicated what the district's administration and School Board have been aware of, the need for budget reductions in order to maintain the 5% fund balance policy. Over the past few years the district has intentionally spent down its fund balance to align with a fund balance policy and to maintain the services and programs offered to students.

In the past decade the pace of inflation and reduced funding from the state has made it impossible to maintain programming and remain within the five percent fund balance parameter at the end of the current fiscal year (June 30, 2015). As a result, budget reductions were anticipated for the 2015-16 school year. The amount could be as much as $8 million, however, during the School Board presentation on Thursday, Jan. 22, the School Board provided flexibility in the overall amount by agreeing to move below the 5% minimum fund balance for the coming year.

As a result, one item (contracting for Transportation services) was removed from the initial proposal. The estimated savings could be as much as $2 million; however, the flexibility in the fund balance and the Transportation Union’s willingness to help support the needed reductions as employees of the district, will remove this item from consideration. The Board conversation around whether to move forward with a request for proposals from vendors led to the decision to delay the RFP process. Any further conversations about transportation efficiencies will come through the negotiation process.

Feedback opportunity continues

An ongoing opportunity for the public to send comments regarding the budget, or other concerns related to the school district, through to the district exists through “We’re Listening”. Select Budget Adjustments on the drop down menu and submit your comments. Information will be collected frequently, and information will be shared with the Superintendent’s Cabinet on a weekly basis.