At its Feb. 24 meeting, the School Board approved final budget reductions for FY 2020-21, FY 2021-22, and a two-phased reduction plan for the following year. The two phases are a combination of options that will occur in FY 2022-23 (transportation insourcing, the closure of East Union, for example) as well as other future considerations in the event of budget shortfalls or unrealized savings. Final recommendations were presented by Director of Finance and Operations, DeeDee Kahring.
The district has made over $10 million in cuts over the last 10 years, making every effort to keep those reductions away from the classroom. With the failure of the operating levy (question one) in the November referendum, the school district needed to make over $10 million in cuts over the next three years, at least $5 million in the upcoming school year.
The approval for these budget reductions comes after months of planning from district leadership and building teams, and takes into account feedback collected from staff, parents and community members.
Final budget cuts for the 20-21 school year total $6,033,035 and include the following items:
- A soft freeze in pay, pending negotiations, for all non-teaching staff
- Change to a six-period day for high school
- A restructured teaching schedule for middle school
- An increase of 1.5 students in elementary classroom size (on average)
- Other restructuring and reductions in support staff
Final budget cuts for the 21-22 school year total $2,652,952 and include the following items:
- A soft freeze in pay, pending negotiations, for teaching staff
- Increases in facility usage fees, activity, and athletic fees
- Reductions in Gifted & Talented and Foreign Language staff
- Reductions in support staff
Future budget reductions (FY 2022-23) include more than $5,000,000:
- Closing East Union Elementary was initially included in the FY 21-22 budget cuts recommended to the Board on January 27. The cost savings is estimated at $548,742.
- The decision to close East Union was pushed back one year and will close before the start of the 22-23 school year.
- If the district passes an Operating Levy and Bond to build a new elementary school before that time, East Union Elementary would remain open until the new elementary school opens. (Note: It is up to the School Board to determine when is the best time to go back to the voters.)
Kahring’s presentation to the School Board on Feb. 24 can be viewed HERE. (Budget presentation begins at the 1:05 hour mark)
As both Chair Ross and Superintendent Christopher noted, this was an incredibly difficult decision. Entering into this budget reduction process, the Board understood they were no longer going to be able to keep cuts from affecting students, teachers and support staff, and the broader ECCS community. The budget reduction plan approved Monday night is the best path forward to balance the district’s commitment to delivering exceptional, personalized learning to students while addressing our current financial reality.
More background about the budget reduction plan process can be found HERE.