Page 2 of 2Has the school done anything to cut back on costs?
Yes, Approximately 80 percent of general fund budgets go to salary and benefits for employees.
Last year, at the high school when two staff members left, we hired one new teacher and shifted staff allowing us to not fully replace the second teacher.
This spring with the retirement of one of our elementary staff, we will again shift staff to where our numbers and needs are the greatest and reduce the elementary by one full time position. We have also have reduced central and high school office staff by two positions over the last three years.
However, trimming staff also reduces the programs and educational opportunities for our students.
While recently redoing two of our buildings roofs, we added to their insulation making them more energy efficient. We are also in the process of using rebates to defray costs of updating the lighting in the buildings in our district to save additional energy dollars.
Do fewer students reduce your costs? Why keep spending?
We find that our revenue is tied closely to student numbers while our costs are not.
Our cost for a classroom is pretty much the same whether there are 22 or 15 kids in the room.
The difference in funding at the elementary level for a classroom of 22 rather than 15 would be over $32,000. The only difference in costs between the two rooms might be the number of text books needed, but if the class above or behind the class of 15 is greater, we will have to have enough text books for the largest class.
Until our enrollment drops to a point where we can operate with fewer teachers and classrooms, it is almost impossible to reduce costs anywhere near the level our revenues are eliminated by the formula.
Is our enrollment dropping steadily?
Last year because of the graduation of a large senior class our high school enrollment dropped about 19 students.
Currently, our eighth and seventh grade classes are both in the 50’s and our senior and junior classes in the 40’s, so it indicates an increase of students in the high school for each of the next two years.
This year, the elementary enrollment increased by 15 students from last year. Since we have a large eighth grade class (55), the population may drop some in the next school year.
The state and federal government mandates certain class sizes be maintained, certain classes be taught, counselors be provided, and special education mandates be met.
Often, one-on-one aids are required to meet federal rules, but no additional dollars are provided, to meet that expense.
We are often limited by how we can effectively use the money we receive since a lot of our dollars come to us with spending restrictions requiring them to be spent in specific areas.
Stay tuned to the I-O for more information and exact numbers on budgets as the trustees try to decide in advance what the legislature will do.
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