Tuesday, March 9, 2010

School District 27J prepares for state budget cuts

School District 27J – along with all districts in Colorado – is embarking on unfamiliar territory: extreme budgets cuts as the result of shortfalls in state revenue.

Even while District 27J remains one of the fastest growing districts and will welcome new students – projections are for 766 new students next year, 835 the year after that and about 1,000 the year after that – the cuts are imminent.

The state picture
Over the course of this fiscal year and the next two, the State of Colorado is making $2.2 billion in cuts to its budget. Public K-12 education is the largest line item in the state budget and accounts for 43 percent of state’s general fund allocations. School District 27J accounts for 2 percent of that. This school year the 27J budget was cut $2.1 million and may be cut an additional $300,000 to $400,000 before the fiscal year is over. Next year, 27J will see $9 million in cuts. The following year, 27J expects $8.5 million in cuts.

In 27J
In announcing new budgeting guidelines and parameters, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Rod Blunck said, “We still have to take care of the people and we still have to produce high-quality results.
“Our primary goal is to educate kids. That has to be the driver for all we do.”

What’s next
In February, the district sent surveys to hundreds of people asking for their input on priorities. All staff and 400 community members had the opportunity to express their preferences by rating 40 different possibilities for increasing revenue and reducing expenses.
The feedback received from staff and community is guiding the tough decisions.
Dr. Blunck shared the following cost-savings / revenue generating tactics to be implemented.

Cost-savings measures
• Increase class size elementary grades from 19.5 to 23:1 and secondary grades from 20.5 to 24:1
• Eliminate paraprofessional substitutes except as required in special education
• Reduce work days for teachers on special assignments (TOSAs)
• Reduce school administrative and support staff
• Eliminate of night school previously offered at Brighton Heritage Academy
• Adjust amount of custodial support
• Reduce administrative and support personnel at the Educational Services Center in line with or greater than reductions in schools
• Reduce support overtime in the ESC by 75 percent
• Reduce certain teaching stipends
• Reduce administrator professional growth opportunities
• Reduce by $310,000 supplies and materials costs
• Reduce printing costs by not printing items such as student handbooks and master agreements, post them electronically
• Eliminate district-provided cell phones

Revenue-generating measures
• Institute middle school athletic participation and transportation fees
• Re-introduce academic, athletic and athletic transportation fees at high schools
• Implement strategies to obtain a 5-percent energy-reduction savings
• Reintroduce request for reams of papers in student school supply list or possible paper fee
• Institute transportation fees on routes for non-attendance area students

“To the extent possible, we will work to minimize the ‘human’ costs of these budgetary changes,” Dr. Blunck said. “Districtwide, employees in all arenas work hard to make a difference for every child, every day,” Dr. Blunck said. “We are seeing great results with our increased graduation rates, improved assessment scores, adequate yearly progress. It is evident that our mission of educating every student is never far from our thoughts.

“Even while the financial landscape changes, our resolve to meet our mission must remain the same. School District 27J exists solely to educate our students, to prepare them for present and future success.”

No comments:

Post a Comment