Superintendent Steve Webb prefaced preliminary budget recommendations with the following statement to the Board of Directors.
“This afternoon, we are presenting a set of preliminary 2016-17 budget recommendations. As we’ve briefed you previously, there is very little discretionary money in the 2016-17 K-12 supplemental consensus budget.
“As we discussed at our spring retreat, the central office budget was constructed using a zero-based process, focusing on functional deliverables and strategic plan outcomes. This process netted $550,000 in annual cost savings. This is on top of the nearly $400,000 in central office cost savings achieved in the 2015-16 budget. As you know, those savings were used to add counseling positions this past August. The 2016-17 central of- fice cost savings are being redirected to reduce speech-language pathologist caseloads and add building-based administrative support. Nearly 100 percent of the recommended expenses are school-based improvements including K-3 class-size staffing increases, secondary staffing increases to respond to enrollment, cost-of- living adjustments (COLAs) and other contract-related costs. A word of caution, we have not received our levy equalization estimate from Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction. We expect to receive this by June 1. This could improve, or negatively impact, our total revenue forecast.
“Additionally, we forecast enrollment conservatively as a standard practice. In the event we hit our enroll- ment forecast or exceed enrollment, we will likely have capacity to make other modest staffing improve- ments, such as front office/health room clerk hours or Design II investments. Lastly, we build our budget with staffing contingencies. This contingency enables the district to respond to enrollment shortfalls or to make staffing adjustments in the fall given actual attendance.
“I want to thank cabinet, district leaders and our principals for their input in developing these recommenda- tions,” said Webb.
Brett Blechschmidt, chief fiscal officer, provided a breakdown of the preliminary budget recommendations. The consensus budget provides new state funding in the amount of $7.1 million. Discretionary revenue includes $1.15 million for full-day kindergarten, and in designated revenue there is $1.9 million for a 1.8 percent COLA for state-funded positions and $4.1 million for K-3 class-size reduction.
Additional revenue in the district budget provides a total of $10.2 million. The recommended breakdown is to expend $2.5 million in K-3 staffing increases, $700,000 in secondary staffing increases, $175,000 in speech-language pathology staffing increases, $300,000 in administrative support for Lieser Campus and $7.5 million for COLA and other contract costs. This balances with $550,000 in zero-based budget savings and $500,000 savings from an ITS lease completion. Factors such as a slight increase in student enrollment could improve the budget forecast slightly.
The Board of Directors will see final budget recommendations at the May 10 Board meeting. A public hearing and adoption of the final 2016-17 budget is expected on Aug. 9.