The Mayor has given us his recommended budget increase of $26 million for 2013-14. That means it is time for the next steps in our budget process.
We have been very fortunate in recent years to have full funding from our city. While this year’s increase is less than the $44 million we proposed, we are still grateful to not be facing the sorts of reductions seen in other areas of Metro Government.
From the outside, it looks like we are getting a significant increase, and that’s true. But when you take into account the cost increases we have no control over, we’re actually making do with less.
Insurance & Pension Increases - $6,400,000
- Required State Teacher Raise - $4,100,000
- Charter School Growth - $14,800,000
- Required Inflationary Increases - $3,500,000
- Reductions in Federal Revenue - $10,500,000
Adding those fixed cost increases together, it’s clear that an increase of $26 million means we must make reductions in order to provide a similar level of service.
The $26 million increase comes from three sources:
Sources of Funds:
- Fund Balance (the district’s “rainy day fund”) - $12,000,000
- State BEP Revenue (per student funding) - $10,000,000
- Local Revenue (new money from the city) - $4,000,000
It’s still too early to tell exactly where the needed reductions will come from, but we do have an early proposal.
- Central Office & Support Positions - $4.09 million
- There will some reductions in staff at these levels. Some of this is expected to happen by not filling currently open positions.
- Through our continuing reorganization process, we are already looking at moving a number of positions out of central office. This has nothing to do with restrictions of the budget. It’s part of the overall plan for school autonomy.
- Teaching Positions - $5.35 million
- We expect very few teachers to be displaced.
- We generally have around 500 open teaching positions per year because of normal turnover and retirement. Some of those may go unfilled.
- We are still hiring teachers. Our recruiters are still hard at work. There is no hiring freeze for teachers.
- Class sizes will go up a little, but will stay within legal limits.
- Freezing Salary Steps - $6.47 million
- This would affect all district employees. It is a very difficult choice to make. We are still working hard to give all employees the pay they deserve and salaries that will attract the best employees to our district.
- Reduction of Salary Raises - $1.78 million
- Though the state has passed a 1.5% pay increase for teachers, other employees could see reductions in expected raises.
All together those reductions would account for $17.69 million, which is very close to the expected reduction in our budget request.
This process isn’t over yet. We still have a meeting with the Council, where we will present our budget and make our case. They will vote on the Mayor’s recommendation at some point in June. Once we have a final figure, the Board will reconvene to agree on how to fit our needed line items into that number. Then they vote to approve and we have a finished budget.
We have a lot of work ahead of us. Budget time is never easy, but we have a powerful workforce that will do what it takes to give our students the best education possible.