March 23, 2010 Minutes and Meeting Materials
District Budget Advisory Committee
Date: March 23, 2010
Place: Bainbridge High School Library
Time: 5:30 p.m.
Superintendent Faith Chapel provided an update regarding the Special Session of the 2010 Legislature. She noted the latest report (3/23) from the Washington State School Directors' Association (WSSDA) was not very encouraging. The Senate and the House remain divided, with the biggest issue being how additional revenue will be generated. Ms. Chapel did underscore some hopeful news; "The major sticking point between the Senate and the House on K-12 funding continues to be different proposals regarding funding for the K-4 Class Size Enhancement (the Senate proposes to eliminate the enhancement, cutting $102 million from the budget; the House proposes to "tweak" the formula, saving about $11 million). House members appear to remain firm on their position and Senators have been fairly receptive to requests to not eliminate the class size funding. We have also received signals from key legislators that the Senate may be moving toward the House position on K-12 funding; however, it is too early to know for sure." Ms. Chapel noted legislators are hearing from their constituents that K-4 Class Size Enhancement is critical and affects every district in the state, with all the funding tied to staff.
Ms. Chapel suggested the committee focus their work on a "better case" scenario, as since the group last met, the legislators passed a 4% levy lid lift. This means the district can collect all of the $8.3 million the community approved for the Program and Operations Levy in 2011. This represents $300K over what was originally budgeted. Additionally it is projected that the 2009-2010 school year will end with a 4% fund balance. Ms. Chapel noted having a preliminary conversation with the Board's Finance Committee about spending down $200K of that fund balance, which would need to be approved by the full board and would reduce the ending fund balance to 3.4%. With these two strategies in mind, Ms. Chapel suggested the committee target the "better case" scenario of $700K for budget reduction discussions.
Ms. Chapel distributed copies of the 2010-11 preliminary enrollment and staffing projections noting the "soft numbers" were subject to change pending registration information from the schools. The preliminary enrollment projections for Kindergarten are strong with the same number of full-day sections currently in place anticipated for next year. However, enrollment for next year's half-day Kindergarten is lower than this year, which may mean a reduction of one section. Overall, the district is being conservative in projecting enrollment K-12 for the 2010-11 school year, with a total enrollment projection of 3707.2 FTE. The preliminary estimate of staffing changes for 2010-11, based on the projected enrollment, would mean a total reduction in certificated staff of 5.4 - 5.5 FTE, with an anticipated savings of $470K. In terms of process, Ms. Chapel emphasized final staffing decisions have not been made. The reason for bringing the information to DBAC for discussion is so the committee has some idea of some of the potential reductions in enrollment and how those reductions equate to certain class size ratios. Obviously, if class sizes are raised, there would be more staffing reductions. If class sizes are more lenient, there would be less savings, but there would need to be reductions elsewhere. Bainbridge High School Principal Brent Peterson noted that district administrators go through a process of adjusting staffing to enrollment each year. If "tweaking" class size would potentially save $400K - $500K and help to preserve existing programs and services, that would be an attractive strategy. The group briefly discussed the ramifications of increasing class size including the use of paraeducators and other classroom management issues.
Ms. Chapel recommended the committee review the subcommittee proposals for 2010-2011 that were preliminarily prioritized at the February 23rd DBAC meeting. It was noted that the Custodial/Maintenance and Transportation subcommittees didn't have additional viable options for budget reductions for next year and were not included in the proposal matrix. Operating with the assumption of anticipated savings of $470K related to preliminary staffing changes, and noting an overall budget reduction target of $700K - $800K, the committee would need to find reductions of $350K. Bainbridge Island Education Association President Boo Schneider suggested a possible .5 FTE reduction in the Assistant Superintendent for Administrative Services position for one year, with Associate Superintendent Julie Goldsmith assuming some Personnel Department duties. Ms. Chapel noted that Central Office staffing has been continually reduced over the last several years, with the remaining staff taking on the responsibilities that still must be accomplished. Central services district wide were significantly reduced last year, with the elimination of the print shop, a 1.0 TOSA, and the Transportation Supervisor. Ms. Chapel suggested further reductions in areas such as Transportation, custodial services were not feasible. Additional committee discussion included the significant support from the Bainbridge Schools Foundation, anticipated Safety Net Grant funding, revenue generating advertising on the district fields and the possibility of a tuition-based community schools for adults. At the conclusion of the discussion, Ms. Chapel and the group agreed that they had identified approximately $339K of the "tier 1" reduction proposals, in addition to the 2010-11 preliminary staffing changes. It was noted that the next DBAC meeting was scheduled for April 6th.