At the March 9 School Board meeting, Chief of Finance and Operations Martin Turney shared a presentation about the 2023-24 Budget Process. The budget for General Fund operating expenditures is created in a process each year that begins with the assessment of district enrollment (current and projected) and legislative decisions that impact funding.
“We have to reduce our budget to meet our financial obligations,” Turney said. “We need to right-size and course-correct. … This is part of a multi-year plan.”
While budget reductions are necessary, the amount is less than originally predicted, because the district’s ending fund balance will be larger than projected in the fall.
The process to create the 23-24 budget has included a number of opportunities for community members to learn about the budget and share their feedback. Several people also offered public comment about the budget during this agenda item discussion.
Turney shared that two factors have improved the ending fund balance projections slightly since the fall:
- Enrollment: While current and projected enrollment numbers are down, the decrease is less than in prior predictions, Turney said. This results in an addition of about $2.5 million to the district’s ending fund balance for this school year.
- Transportation funding from the state was about $3.2 million more than the original projection of what our district would receive.
Several factors that may impact the budget are still “unknowns." While the regular legislative session is not over, it’s possible that actions that the Legislature takes before the session ends will impact the ISD budget. Also, the amount of Safety Net reimbursement for Special Services is not yet available. How inflation may impact the cost of Materials, Supplies and Operating Costs for 2023-24 such as fuel, utilities, insurance and more is not yet known.
Based on the district’s projected enrollment, as well as other impacts on district revenue and expenditures, and the projected ending fund balance, Turney and Tow-Yick are recommending a budget reduction of about $9.8 million for the 2023-24 school year budget – which represents about 2.63% of the total district budget.
District officials propose meeting that reduction by making reductions, with 81% coming from the Administration Building and related services. A Reduction in Force (RIF) of certificated staff is not proposed or planned as part of this proposed reduction. The proposed reduction also does not call for any school closures or boundary changes for the 2023-24 school year.
The proposal at the central Administration Building and Operations includes:
- Some roles and/or work will be reduced, rescoped or restructured.
- Unrepresented staff reductions of about 15 full-time equivalent (FTE) positions, for an amount of about $2.3 million.
- Represented staff reductions of about 10 FTE positions, for about $1.5 million.
- Reductions of materials, supplies and operating costs of about $4.1 million.
The proposal at school buildings includes:
- Enrollment-related staffing (right-sizing based on enrollment projections) adjustments of about 10 FTE, which is expected to be possible based on attrition, in an amount of about $1.5 million.
- A reduction of the school budgets annual discretionary allocation of about $225,000.
- An adjustment of administration staffing at high schools in an amount of about $162,000.
The district is also utilizing all available methods for reductions, including managing reductions through staff attrition, reducing the use of consultants and service providers, suspending some travel, and more.
Some additional investments may be added to meet the needs of the system and support priority areas in the Strategic Plan.
To watch the staff presentation and board discussion about the 2023-24 Budget, visit our YouTube Channel.