What we know: Our school board, along with most sectors here, face the decidedly unpleasant and extremely difficult budget reduction decisions.
Each and every one of them will impact someone, somewhere, and so we must remind ourselves that this will not be an easy task, because it won’t be. Of little comfort perhaps is the fact that they are not alone. These very taxpayers who are the finances for schools are sharing the financial pain right along with our schools. This is the sad reality of today’s current events.
One such recent and painful topic was this.
School Consolidations / Closures, which included Avon Elementary School, Edwards Elementary School, June Creek Elementary School, Red Sandstone Elementary School, Eagle Valley Elementary School and Eagle Valley Middle School.
Under the schools Facing the New Reality is the following fact. The cost savings of closing any given elementary school is around $500,000, reflected primarily in utilities, small school allocation, upkeep of the building and maybe one or two staff members (click here)
On January 19, 2012 the Board approved the following item(s): Not closing or consolidating any elementary schools at this time.
Changes and cuts to school transportation is now listed for the January 25, 2012 school board agenda.
First Discussions: Transportation Changes (1 of 1 – First and Final -Click here)
– Charging for transportation: does it save that much money?
– Items to consider: clerical charges, impoverished students receive reduced rates (these students are the ones that are currently using school transportation the most). Regional busing service (not driving through neighborhoods).
– Changing start and end times of the school day to accommodate cheaper transportation rates. – Mill levy passed in 1998 or 1999, which provides some funding for transportation.
Transportation Department (informational): Looking at ways to save money in the transportation fund, including changing bell times, reducing routes and charging per student fees.
What we know:
Our schools General Fund revenue source is “property taxes, state equalization, specific ownership taxes (automobile taxes), federal revenues and miscellaneous other revenue.” And we know that the General Operating Fund includes the “salaries and employee pay for most District employees (including teachers, administrators and some support staff), supplies and custodial services.” Besides teachers pay, the General Fund also aids in funding student transportation via General Fund Transfers and transfers funding into the Capital Reserve Fund. Per ECS, the only funds that are non-restricted (where additional dollars can be cut) are the Capital Reserve Fund, Transportation Fund and the General Fund.
- The Transportation Fundprovides revenues based on a property tax mill set by the School Board to satisfy the District’s excess transportation costs on an annual basis. The expenditures for this fund are the current operating expenditures for providing pupil transportation to and from school.
- The Capital Reserve Fund is used for acquisition of land, alterations and improvements to existing structures, construction of new facilities and the acquisition of school buses and/or other equipment.
- General Fund includes salaries and employee pay for most District employees– all activities of the District are accounted for through this fund except for those required to be accounted for in another fund.
So here is what we should be asking.
- What amount, if any, is proposed to be cut from the Capital Reserve Funds – Budgeted Transfers of $630,518.00?
- If school transportation begins a charge per pupil, reducing route locations, or making time changes, will the full maximum amount allowed – $1 million dollars – still be cut from the current funding?
And finally and perhaps most importantly;
3. How many in-class teaching positions will be retained as a result any/all of these proposed budget reductions?
For we already know the savings, ballpark $1 to $1.5 million dollars, had 2 or 3 low enrollment schools been consolidated and/or closed.
- Teamwork – Focusing on a district wide common purpose.
- Innovation – Promoting creative solutions.
- Professional Pride – Recognizing and celebrating individual and collaborative efforts
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