Thursday, June 30, 2016

At Board Work Session on $11M Underspend

A lively meeting and I will flesh this out later but here's what's happening:


- Director Blanford is not present (Director Peters is not but is on the phone) - It was stated that he wants the entire amount to roll over to 2017-2018 over the worry about various issues including the possible levy cliff

-There are a number of possible categories to spend those dollars.  The Board and staff agreed on mitigation, SMART goals, Compliance, IB x 3 schools, reserves, middle school math adoption and Escrow (meaning don't decide on spending now but spend this year.)

- Board says yes to $2.3M for mitigation to schools.  There was also an announcement that there are about 18 FTE teachers set-aside for possible split classroom mitigation.  (There may be more money - they were talking about another $2M from another source.)

- Compliance - district staff estimates this at $1.9M (because regs are not yet written).  A win would be for the amount to be lower than $1.9M.

- IB x 3 schools (Ingraham, RBHS and Chief Sealth) - $750K.  (I note that there are several other sources in play for more resources for continuing IB.  More to come.


9 comments:

mirmac1 said...

The possible $2M in Mitigation is the fall out from last October's staff cuts. For once, district admin responded to community complaints and reworked the "right-sizing" schedule.

mirmac1 said...

At the same time, I'm FLUMMOXED about this $11M "discovery". It wasn't too long ago (this fiscal year?) that the SEA pointed out how SPS miscalculated funds by even MORE than that amount during budget development. Are these monies in some off-shore account (said with tongue in cheek)?! I find it hard to believe these are innocent mistakes, committed by professionals, no less.

I recall when Director Geary caught Dep Supt Nielsen in a recent quandary. She said that the Board had been told there was NO MONEY for a rewritten EEU agree,emt. Yet, when it came to discovering more opportunities for the City's experimental PreKs, suddenly Nielsen found "green money"!!! Watch the video. He visibly squirmed.

Anonymous said...

Anyone have more info on this evening's session? I heard that IT got hammered by the board. Who knows specifics?

-WCJ

Melissa Westbrook said...

WCJ, I was there for the whole thing and I'll do a write-up later today. Unfortunately, the person who should have heard the wrath of Director Harris, Carmen Rahm who used to head IT, is now gone so the interim person got to hear it.

On the $11M, my understanding is that along with mitigation, compliance and IB funding for the three high schools, that the Board's suggestion is to put the remaining dollars (about $6M) into an "escrow" account with the promise those dollars will be used this budget year for some SMART goals and possibly middle school math adoption.

Eric B said...

Can you talk about process for this money? In theory, it seems like if the Board says "we want to do 'x' with this money," that's the end of it and it will happen. Of course, in theory there's no difference between theory and practice. Do we know when we find out if these things the Board wants are actually funded?

On recent discovery of funds, it's pretty common for public agencies to hold back spending until the end of the year since they can't typically get extra money for surprises during the year. Normally, there's a big "end of year" spending rush to spend out all of that money. It's possible that (a) Finance put the kibosh on end of year major spending or (b) Finance actually went through and checked whether departments were actually going to spend it. I don't know if either of those are true, but either would explain a sudden discovery of an underspend. Under either scenario, up until a month or two ago, the departments would have had money in their budget but would have planned on spending it, so the money wouldn't yet be an underspend.

Another GW parent said...

Will the $2.3 million fulfill all mitigation requests? Is that mitigation for just classroom teachers or all staff?

Melissa Westbrook said...

I think that is for all staff at schools, Another GW.

Good question, Eric. I left the meeting at about the 3.5 hour mark (I couldn't sit there any longer.) But I think the staff realizes that the Board is very serious about their suggestions so I think the final outcome will be a mix of items.

My understanding is that Director Blanford (who was oddly not in attendance) wanted the entire amount in reserve.

The underspend comes from not filling/needing as many positions as they thought. And yet they have 18 FTE on-hold for the split classroom issue. It's hard to follow the bouncing ball sometimes.

Joe Wolf said...

First look: Genesee Hill Elementary

18 photos from a recent visit.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/joebehr/albums/72157670451462955

Maureen said...

Wow! Shiny! Thanks Joe!