Thanks for the suggestion in the budget reduction posting about answering rumors and questions.
Someone asked about a breakdown of employees by building. I don't have that information this weekend. We will work to make that information available.
Comments were made about transferring money from other tax funds to general fund. The short answer is that we can't. We are not able to transfer funds from capital projects, transportation, bus replacement, or debt payment funds, which you pay as property tax, into general fund. The state pays general fund to us from sales and income tax. (We can move a small percentage of capital project funding into general fund to help with utilities and property insurance.) These rules are set by the state, and we obey them.
Several new laws were proposed this legislative session allowing schools more flexibility in transferring between various funds. Those proposals are being held up by politics in Indianapolis. In any event, we didn't make this years' budget for Wawasee with extra money to transfer around if given the opportunity.
Wawasee established a Rainy Day fund long ago. I grew when certain facility projects didn't cost as much as estimated. The extra money went into Rainy Day fund. By the end of this summer, we will have spent over $800,000 from Rainy Day during the past three years. If we have no budget cuts and spend 1.3 million from the fund each of the next two years, the Rainy Day fund would be gone. Future needs for a cushion would remain, with nothing available for 5, or 25, years down the road.
Our budget reduction proposals have no plans for children to walk to school, to cut extra-curricular opportunities or sports, or to put 30 children in an elementary classroom. We'll continue to study options to save money with minimal disruption to programs and opportunities for the children of the Wawasee community.
I am asking the school board to approve a study of our district to look at good efficiencies we may be missing.
Blog questions were asked about why Milford seemed to take the hardest hit with reductions. The answer is that Milford has the lowest seniority elementary teachers in the school district. They are reduced first. WCSC is a large district with three elementary schools. If teachers are needed from elsewhere, they may be transferred from other buildings. Elementary teachers are being discussed because we didn't have secondary teachers on the reduction list. We already knew about some secondary teacher retirements, so some reductions could already be made, if needed. The reduction list is subject to change as we move through the process, with retirements known and decisions made, over the next several months.
Why would WCSC consider facility work when economic times are tough? That is a good question. The big answer is that the high school is 42 years old and needs a new roof, good and energy efficient heating units in 1/2 of the building, safety items addressed, and other items on our future building list. We can take advantage of zero/low interest through the federal stimulus program, without changing our tax rate. We'll be providing construction jobs, which turn around and help pay for our schools. Also, construction costs have gone backwards the past couple of years. The energy savings will pay off now and in the future, safer schools are better for all of us, and a new shop area has been needed for a long time.
Overall, WCSC is looking at our economic situation with the goals of minimizing reduction of services to the students and layoffs to employees. All employee groups share in cuts. Classified employee hour reductions will equal 5% of total classified hours, teacher reductions equal 2% of total teachers, and administrator reductions equal 14% of total administrators.
Thanks, again, for taking the opportunity to forward budget reduction ideas on the blog. This is a difficult process for everyone. I appreciate the way you are saying things in a nice way, even though you may not like what is happening. That says something good about Wawasee.
The Wawascene was created by Dr. Mark Stock, former Superintendent of the Wawasee Community School Corporation. Due to its local popularity, Dr. Stock has left the blog site to future Wawasee administrators.
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