TO: Board of Education
FROM: Van Riley, Superintendent
DATE: April 9, 2013
SUBJECT: Budget Considerations
In response to the final decision by the Board of Finance concerning the education budget for 2013-14, I have outlined below my recommendations on how to meet the $150,000 reduction. In addition, I have indicated areas that will need to be considered if the referendum does not pass on the first vote. I look forward to discussing these items at the Board meeting on April 11, 2013.
Recommendations regarding $150,000 current reduction:
1) Advance purchases with current balances – Certain line items of the 2012-13 budget were frozen in November in order to reallocate funds to meet specific Board goals and to provide consistency and equity across the district. Some of those accounts will have balances that can be utilized to purchase items that were included in the 2013-14 budget.
2) Renegotiate First Student Transportation contract – Bill King is in the process of renegotiating the 2013-14 First Student contract. It is anticipated that this renegotiation could result in a $10,000 savings for next fiscal year.
3) Additional retirees and resignations – Recently the district has received several letters of retirement and/or resignation. Replacement of these positions will result in savings to the 2013-14 budget.
4) Reconfiguration of departments – The district will be considering reconfiguration of the business and M/O departments effective for the 2013-14 fiscal year. These changes may result in savings to the 2013-14 budget.
5) Attrition – Whenever there is a vacant position, that position is evaluated based on the need of that position for student success. It is probable that some vacated positions will not be necessary and therefore result in savings to the 2013-14 budget.
6) Overtime and substitutes – A careful review of overtime and use of substitutes for non-teaching positions will continue next year. Reducing the need for overtime and substitutes will result in some savings in the 2013-14 budget.
If the Referendum does not pass on the first vote, the following items will be considered for reduction or elimination. All of these positions and programs are critical to maintaining and improving the quality of the instructional opportunities for all students.
1) Class sizes may be increased – Average class size at Stonington High School is approximately 21.5 students per teacher. This ratio is well below the Board’s target for class sizes. In addition, elementary and middle school teaching positions will also be considered.
2) Support Staff reductions – If further budget reductions are required, all certificated support positions, and stipend positions will be reviewed for possible reduction or elimination. These would include reading, physical education, art, music, nurses, special education, and other specialists.
3) Classified staff may be reduced - Classified staff includes all non-certificated positions such as custodial, secretarial, paraprofessional, grounds and maintenance. If further reductions are required, these positions will be considered for reductions.
4) PSAT/SAT/AP testing fees may be eliminated – This item was added to the 2013-14 budget to promote high school students applying to colleges.
5) Technology programs/budget may be reduced – Technology programs in the district are vital to student success and provide students with skills necessary to compete in a world economy. Significant budget reductions could result in fewer computers and less teacher/staff time to assist students with technology instruction.
6) Maintenance and Operations budget may be reduced – If the M/O budget and staff are reduced, cleanliness and maintenance of school facilities would suffer.
7) Curriculum budget may be reduced – The district is making great strides in curriculum and staff development. The 2013-14 budget included funds for new textbooks, new instructional materials, staff development and time for teachers to work on improving instruction.
8) Funds to implement new state evaluation program may be reduced – The new Connecticut teacher and administrator evaluation program is another unfunded State mandate requiring many hours and resources. The district has presented a minimal budget in 2013-14 to begin implementation of this new law. Reductions to the budget may require further cuts to this required program.
9) Transportation may be reduced – Facing similar budget reductions, other districts have reduced transportation by limiting bus stops and requiring more students to walk to school. In addition, transportation for field trips, music programs, extra-curricular programs, and athletics may need to be reduced or eliminated.
10) Extra-curricular programs may be reduced or eliminated – The 2013-14 budget restores many of the extra-curricular and athletic programs that were cut in the past. If there are reductions beyond the current $150,000 level, these important opportunities for students may be reduced or eliminated.
11) Site instructional budgets may be reduced – Each principal is provided funding for teacher materials, office supplies and other school needs. Site budgets may take a hit if there are further reductions.
It is important for the Board of Education and for the community to understand the impacts of these potential reductions on the students of Stonington.