07/08 Budget Discussions Begin

Superintendent Art Rainwater sent a memo to the School Board [550K PDF] outlining 10 categories that will be considered as the District prepares a balanced 2007/2008 budget in April, 2007. This budget will be more challenging due to the recently disclosed $6M structural deficit, which means that the reduction in the Distict’s revenue cap limited spending increases in its’ $333M+ budget will be larger than usual. The discussion categories include:

  1. Athletics/Extra Curricular
  2. Consolidate Schools
  3. Teacher/Staff Ratios
  4. Building/Facilities
  5. Reduce Administrative Staffing
  6. Services
  7. Student Services
  8. Curriculum Development and Support
  9. Decrease allocations for instructional supplies/materials/equipment by up to 20%
  10. Eliminate/Reduce District Student Programs/Services

2 thoughts on “07/08 Budget Discussions Begin”

  1. a few random thoughts: kill athletics if you want to see the public up in arms, especially at their local legislative reps re: school finance. Where is MSCR on this list? Who’s bright idea was it to hide the structural deficit details? Very Enronish to me, likely deserves a firing (or 3).
    Kill off Nuestro Mundo- we need hispanic kids speaking English, not american kids learning espanol…unfortunately, as espanol IS a beautiful language and damn practical given our immigration woes…bye bye Studio School….time for Doyle Bldg to take another 25% cut: you guys created this problem, he who dealt it….

  2. I first noticed the structural deficits several years ago and asked questions about this – not to worry, I was told. This was how it was done. At the time, the monthly structural deficit due to “staff float” (my term) was estimated at $250,000 or so – about $3 million per year. Now, we are at $6 million. Previous board majorities did not delve into budget issues such as these and the equity fund. But that has changed under Lawrie Kobza’s persistance and leadership.
    A thought I have would be to make a big dent in the structural deficit this year, perhaps not all, depending up what else is proposed for cuts. Also, though, closer monitoring of the budget during the year is needed to see where the district is in the “staff float” as well as where other areas’ actuals are compared to the budget. This would help avoid the raid on the equity fund at the end of June. Lawrie is also doing this and deserves our thanks.
    None of this is to say that the state financing does not need changing – not at all. However, the current board majority under Lawrie Kobza’s leadership is making great strides in discussing key budget issues early and in public and is doing so with the support of the administration, which is the good news.
    As to sports – it’s important to the community and valued as are fine arts education. One is extracurricular and the other is academic. However, if we do not get financial relief from the state re different financing of public education, which I am not currently optimistic about, we will need to be looking at different models of funding. Since last year, no steps have been taken to do this, which is unfortunate.
    While the board has its hands full with a number of issues, they could help by inviting community members to make suggestions since the District admin tends to drag its heels in this area.

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