Sunday, May 1, 2016

Finding $912k

Last Sunday I wrote that I had gone through the line item budget looking for cuts, in order to make the budget which was expected from the City Council – reducing the School Board request by $912,000.  I provided my thoughts to the School Board, which discussed them a bit on Tuesday evening (I was traveling this week).  You can find part of what I submitted on page 8 of budget packet 8 – but two columns were missing – so I am providing what I sent here, in both PDF and native Excel.  PDF: https://drive.google.com/open?id=0ByHfVeOJ8zSuV3JweUI4YWZodzA, Excel: https://drive.google.com/open?id=0ByHfVeOJ8zSuYldXN0ZjYTBFMTQ 

Most important, I suggested cuts (starting from school administration proposals) that avoided the most draconian cuts to in new teachers.  In this set of ideas, we could even keep adding half a gifted specialist to TJ, but we would not be able to hire one of the three new proposed elementary teachers, or the half-time paraprofessional.  (NOTE: you will see the .5 gifted specialist on the list at the bottom, but note that we get to over $912,000 in cuts before you remove that specialist, so that position would not have to be cut, perhaps).

Even if some of these proposals don’t work – and the school administration believes they do not – many of them while painful can be considered.   And painful reductions we will have, in both the schools and general government.  I share these proposals not to cause concern, but because this is the sort of difficult choice the Board will have to make under the current budget.  And if the community wants to maintain current class sizes at all grades, then we will need to find an additional $120,000. 

There is one more critical point that comes out of this analysis.  The most difficult cuts can be avoided if the City Council offers a bit more – about $300,000 or even $275,000 – and can find that in the general government budget.  In my personal opinion, a teacher is worth that. 

Thank you, and best wishes.

(These are my personal views and not the official statement or records of the Board. They are not minutes but my personal summary of some of the highlights from the meeting.)

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