December 16, 2014
Contact: Heidi Embley, ASD Communications
District revises budget proposal for current and future year
Based on current projections that place the district 3 percent under budget by the end of this school year, the school board and administration approved a plan to designate $17 million to address next year’s projected budget gap and spend nearly $4 million in the second semester this year to address current staffing challenges.
“Good budgeting and fiscal practices allowed the district to spot this early, giving us the opportunity to make strategic near and long-term decisions in the best interest of our students,” said Eric Croft, school board president.
As part of the updated budget development guidance, the school board and administration designated $17 million of unspent funds to go toward next year’s proposed budget gap.
The strategic deployment of reserve funds will prevent the estimated reduction of more than 200 positions next year in order to balance the projected budget gap. Superintendent Ed Graff said this will allow the district to continue its momentum toward increasing student achievement and success.
“We must be mindful of where we are headed,” said Superintendent Ed Graff. “We are taking the opportunity to continue to be good stewards of public funds and avoid position eliminations that would negatively impact our ability to support students next year.”
Board member Tam Agosti-Gisler lauded the decision to designate the funds for next year, “A key component of keeping excellent educators is allowing them to stay focused on their students rather than if they’ll be pink-slipped at the end of the year due to budget constraints.”
Also during Monday’s board meeting, approximately $4 million in unspent funds from the first quarter was directed to second semester efforts, including resources to address class size challenges by providing additional hours for teacher assistants, adding elementary personnel and addenda for teachers to teach additional secondary classes; increasing substitute pay and offering sub incentives; resources to help with recruiting and hiring in hard-to-fill positions; hiring a new charter/alternative school coordinator; and summer school for elementary and secondary students in 2015.
“By redirecting some funding from where we’ve come in under budget, we can address our immediate staffing challenges and offer direct support to schools and students,” said Superintendent Graff. “This is a reasonable amount needed for the second semester in order to improve our efforts to recruit and retain high-quality teachers and staff.”
Board member Pat Higgins further increased the administration’s proposed second semester funds to support overcrowded classrooms in secondary schools.
The second quarter budget revisions are detailed in memo #142.
Superintendent Graff’s administration is now tasked with preparing the budget for next school year. It will be presented in January for public review. The board is scheduled to vote on the proposal in February. Superintendent Graff said his proposal to the board will use Destination 2020 as a guide to ensure the district is focused on all aspects of providing a solid 21st century education to students.