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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Sunday, March 07, 2010

More Information About Budget Reductions

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.

26 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for laying it all out step by step and for your honesty. At least we know what you are thinking and as a parent and community member I appreciate it!

Anonymous said...

Thank you very much for spelling some things out. I think this will help some to put out some of the rumors. We are all (understandably) nervous about what will happen to our wonderful school...academically and athletically. Let's hope and pray that not much change will take place...

Anonymous said...

Thank you for coming to NWES school today. I have been a previous employee and now have recently been rehired as a paraprofessional. Last Monday was a teacher work day and Memo went out that paraprofessionals either had to work that teacher work day or a previous day to make the 181 days employed. If the paraprofessional are not needed on that day then maybe there days of employment for the school year should be 180 instead of 181 days. That would be one less day per para, per year, times how many paraprofessionals.

Anonymous said...

According to board meeting minutes, the rainy day fund had 3.5 million dollars until the end of last year, and $3.3 million at the beginning of this year. How was the $200,000 used? How do you anticipate using an additional $600,000 to reach a total of $800,000?

Superintendent, Dr. Thomas Edington said...

This is Dr. Edington. Thanks for your question. We transferred $200,000 from Rainy Day fund to General Fund at the end of the year to cover the early retirement incentives paid to teachers in 2009. We used a similar amount for the same purpose in 2008. In 2010, we plan to use $300,000 or more for early incentives for retirement. We also plan to use $100,000 or more from the fund to support our budget during the first half of the year. The state cuts began in Jnaury, and we won't be making substantial reductions until the next school year begins. It puts us in a close financial situation that Rainy Day funds can assist.

Anonymous said...

what if everyone took a pay cut across the board, teachers, bus drivers, nurses, administrators, guidance counselors, etc, .....then maybe no one would have to lose their job?

Anonymous said...

"Our budget reduction proposals have no plans.... to put 30 children in an elementary classroom..... If teachers are needed from elsewhere, they may be transferred from other buildings...."

How can this be achieved? At N. Webster, nearly every classroom in every grade has at least 24 children. Every grade has 4 classes, and some have 5. If even 1 teacher from a grade is cut / moved to Milford, simple math shows that the remaining classes in that grade will swell to at least 32 students. This seems to contradict what the Superintendent is telling us. How will this affect our already "failing" school? Will this help to bring up our math scores?

But rest assured, no extra-curricular activities or sports will be cut!!

Anonymous said...

Where can the community see these "recommendations" that are being made? These are our tax dollars that you are dealing with.

Anonymous said...

What athletic program would you propose to cut in order to make up our 1.3 million dollar shortfall?

Anonymous said...

If it would save even 1 teacher, then it would be worth it to cut them all. The point is not to make up the entire sum with extra-curricular cuts, but it could definitely help move closer to covering the budget shortfall.

Anonymous said...

What about all day kindergarten? As a parent with a student going into kindergarten, we are concerned about this. We are not objecting to paying for it if our student does not "qualify" but we just want to make sure it is not going to be cut? Do you know that answer yet?

Superintendent, Dr. Thomas Edington said...

The Wawasee School Board voted last evening to continue the full-day kindergarten program at current levels. Two classes at North Webster, one class at Milford, and two classes at Syracuse are set for next year. (The enrollment at Milford Elementary is lower than the other two elementary schools.)

Someone asked about extra-curricular reductions. Those are still in discussion. Reductions in coaches and (possibly) combining some middle school programs have already been proposed. We'll look at the total extra-curricular picture during the next month or so.

How do we pay for some smaller AP classes at WHS? If we allow a smaller class for advanced placement students at the high school, the additional funding is paid from funds we receive from the state for academic honors graduates. The more academic honors graduates WHS has, the more funding we receive to support AP classes.

Anonymous said...

The school district is also reimbursed for career/technical classes. There are many students who are not college bound who can receive very practical and employable skills by enrolling in those courses and learning a skill. Sometimes students are pushed into AP classes who might be better served in another course of study.

Anonymous said...

Dr. Edington,
I'm am confused about the following comment you wrote concerning new legislation:
"In any event, we didn't make this years' budget for Wawasee with extra money to transfer around if given the opportunity."

Does that mean we won't transfer money when the state allows it does it mean we will when given the opportunity. Please clarify.

Thanks!

Anonymous said...

I was also confused by the comment: "In any event, we didn't make this years' budget for Wawasee with extra money to transfer around if given the opportunity."

Are you saying that if HB1367 makes it out of the senate by Sunday's deadline, that no money will be transferred from the capital fund to the general fund?

I understand that, at this point, HB1367 has found its way to no man's land...I mean, committee. Therefore, the chance of it being voted on by Sunday are slim. Yet, I am still curious that if given the opportunity to transfer funds, would you propose said transfer?

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Anonymous said...

Why don't we stop letting custodians take home vehicles and let them allow their children to use them? Taxpayers pay for that gas and insurance. In my opinion, they went years and years without having one, no real reason to do it now. For snow removal, just drive to the school and use the school trucks there.

Also, if certified instructors are cut, would hiring more paraprofessionals help with class instruction due to larger class sizes. They certainly wouldn't require the pay a certified teacher does.

I would also wonder if given the opportunity, would more teachers use a "job share" program to help cut costs. Especially with the teachers who have younger ones at home.

Thanks for your time!

Anonymous said...

You can cut a little from the transportation by making sure the bus drivers don't stop at every block. I live 2 blocks from Syracuse Elementary. Bus 6 picks up a student that lives in front of the school, then turns into the addition to pick up another student. When my son rode the bus to the middle school. All student from the addition had to walk up to the theater or in front of the elementary school. Too much catering to students that are old enough to walk to a designated bus stop. And if these student are elementary age, they live too close to the school to be picked up by a bus. Why is this happening?

Anonymous said...

Do those who "job share" receive benefits.

Anonymous said...

Concord administrators are all taking a 1 percent pay decrease. I didn't see any administrators' salaries mentioned in the PowerPoint. If the entire district is being affected, how about a sacrifice at the top?

Anonymous said...

I wonder about the wisdom of paying an outside firm to suggest ways to save money. Administrators are paid well and if their area of expertise is school management,it seems to me they should be able to determine the ways our school can save money.

Anonymous said...

The teaching union needs to answer the question to the community of why do great teachers with less seniority get cut before other apathetic teachers that have been written up, or failing to perform their duties at a level that is not condusive to positive learning. In terms of suggestions for additional cuts, there are a couple of other areas that have been trimmed in other school systems: 1)School Board Pay Cuts 2) Administration pay-cuts across the board (1-3%) 3) Schools front office staff minimized from 2-3 asst. admin. staff down to 1. This would allow to keep teachers in the classroom, where the focus needs to be made.

Anonymous said...

Less seniority does not equate with great. Experience does not equate with apathy. Experienced teachers frequently help newer members of the profession in learning techniques that have proven to be successful. Both new and experienced teachers share ideas and approaches.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone looked into the salary for the graph guy? Really? We need a guy to make graphs at a teaching salary? How many people does it really take to man the administration building? Let's start at the top and not where it affects our kids!

A Concerned Parent

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