From the Board Work Session on the Budget. There were numerous handouts and much shuffling of paper.
The budget gap according to Don Kennedy, COO, is now $24.6. It is tricky because we do not know what version of the state budget is going to win (House, Senate, Governor).
Michael DeBell said that he was having difficulty in understanding what he had before him and wished to see inputs AND outputs. He said he also needed to see clear relationships between projects and funding source available for them.
Mr. Kennedy said the coaches number was down by 28 because of reduction of I-728 money. Later on, he said they had 100 coaches but this differs from a figure of 116 given at a Board committee meeting where Meg Diaz' report was discussed. He also then said they were backfilled with baseline dollars to core areas.
Mr Kennedy said that next week they would announce the cuts from the Central Administration budget. He said they needed to be at $6M and are at $5.4 so far. Kay said that in Meg's report that there had been growth in Central Administration and if we grew by $7M, shouldn't we be cutting $12M? Kennedy said he would get to that later in the meeting (but I don't remember it happening). There was some discussion again about how the coaches had been inproperly coded by OSPI standards.
Michael again said that the district needs to have transparency in these kinds of budget issues (coding and labeling and sorting) because of the confusion it causes. He said we can't have internal accounting that differs from external accounting.
Kay asked about comparing our Central office numbers with other districts but the answer was that it was too difficult to do because of the differences. (That didn't seem to stop the State Auditor two years ago - I'll have to send that report to Kay.)
(According to the report, both Viewlands and Rainier View Elementaries will have ELL and Special Ed programs.)
(Also, on the curriculum alignment front, Kathy Thompson from the academic side, said that science 9-11-12 will be adopted next year as well as high school social studies 9-12. She said that there will be a K-5 music adoption and 6-8 Language Arts as well.) Michael asked about the money ratio between materials, professional development and adoption committee. She said that materials are the bulk of the money. Michael then asked about using money from the capital account for the textural materials. The reply was that the capital money is pretty much committed and can't use interest from the BEX III bond.)
I slipped Michael a note about this because in the last two BEX Oversight Committee meetings, it was made clear that the Board controls the BEX program reserve (which I don't know the actual figure - likely to be at least a couple of million dollars). And, that they were coming to the next Board meeting to ask that it stay with BEX. I let the entire Board know this in an e-mail this morning. While I appreciate that BEX wants to keep the money, the entire district needs the money. If they get to keep it, even though the Board controls it, then the Board will once again be caving to the district. There is no real reason to keep it.
Also, the staff said that they set aside money each year for elections even though we have levy/bond elections every 3 years. This seems odd and was not fully explained.
Kay asked about families paying more for athletics or doing more professional development on-site (or on-line) rather than at the headquarters. They said they are looking into that but F/RL would still get any athletic fee increase waived.
Steve spoke up and asked if there were functions that the district could just state that we are going to stop doing. Not cut back on but just stop entirely. He said it would be better to be able to clearly tell people what is happening. There was talk from staff about more efficiencies but frankly, if they haven't found them by now after all our years of floundering, I have wonder.
DeBell said that the levy had passed well but that people were told it supports teachers in classrooms and the 6-period day for high school and we can't let them down on that promise. He said that the cuts have to track what the public's perception is about what the district is delivering.
Staff explained how they got to the proposed cuts to the WSS. He said they had talked about a one-week furlough for district staff but that it would reduce the instructional calendar. I was confused here because if the central administration shut down for a week, why would all the schools have to as well? They said if we could get K-4 funding back from the state, they could avoid the WSS cuts. They said many superintendents had signed a letter to this effect including Dr. G-J.
In terms of the cuts I mentioned in the previous thread, for example, the cuts would be intervention specialists back to .5 at all the comprehensives, etc. Meaning, not just a few schools but all schools. However, Steve asked if a school had to make the cuts here or could they decide what to cut? Staff said the school could decide but something would go away in the end.
There was some talk about how the flight schools had been excluded from RIFs last time but it could happen in the second year of the contract. Oddly, Dr. Enfield and Kathy Thompson were sitting right there but didn't speak up as to whether the flight schools would have RIFs or not if other schools had them as well.
DeBell talked about the need to standardize our pay for K. (This was addressed at the very end of the presentation but I was not still in the room. I don't know what was discussed or decided.)
Harium - can't get rid of the maintenance zone crew, it's penny-wise and pound foolish. "I can't go there personally."
Dr. G-J - same reaction for kindergarten. "It's our core work." She wanted to be on the record for this opinion. Harium agreed.
Peter - we need to stop cutting back on maintenance. He also wouldn't want to cut instrumental music because once you stop, it may never come back. He said he was "in-between" on kindergarten funding.
Kay - music is critical and we can find ways to fund it (I think she may have meant private means). Kay also spoke up for maintenance.
(Yes, there is quite the irony here for the directors all coming out so much for...maintenance and its importance. A little late to the party but welcome.)
I do think there was some method to the madness of how the budget was laid out to the Board. Clearly Michael is worried about the public perception of any cuts if they cannot clearly explain to folks the how, why and input/output. If this presentation was any example, good luck with that.