Dear Staff, Parents, and Community Members,
For the last few weeks, a letter has occupied this space telling you about the money that wastaken from the public education budget this year and replaced with stimulus monies that willdisappear at the end of the 2010-2011 school year. Our concern is that the legislature will not address this issue in January; our hope is that they will. If they do not, many of the programs ourchildren benefit from and currently enjoy will all but disappear.
During the recent special session, our elected officials did a commendable job of protecting our students from deep cuts. Assuming that Governor Richardson signs the bills, the cut to ClovisMunicipal Schools from our current budget will be approximately $600,000. While that is a lot of money to pull out of a budget that has already been reduced, it could have been much worse.
Our administrative team has been planning for cuts since this summer, and we recently asked all non-school sites to make recommendations of how to reduce their budgets by ten percent. This reduction includes the Administration Office, maintenance and operations, Student Support Center, athletics, music, health services, federal programs, and technology. We also asked school sites to give us suggestions for how to reduce their budgets by five percent.
On Tuesday, November 3rd, the Board of Education will meet to decide how to address thislatest cut. I want you to know what my recommendations to the Board will be. While the cuts that I am recommending for the current school year may sound relatively easy and painless, thatwill not be the case. Our staff will be taking on additional work and responsibilities, and in somecases will be doing so at a different work site and in different job roles.
1. The Administration Office will take the largest percentage of the cuts. Since we have been anticipating low revenues this year, we have left several positions at the Administration Office vacant as they came open this summer or this semester. Specifically, we reduced our building custodial costs by $13,000 (part-time instead of full-time); absorbed the position ofTransportation/Inventory Coordinator by dispersing those duties to two other coordinatorsand hiring a Fixed Assets clerk (net savings of $33,000); did not fill the Director of Instruction position ($79,000); did not replace the grant writer position, but added a communications specialist (net savings of $13,000); accepted that we might not be able to continue to afford a curriculum/data specialist when we moved that position to Title 1stimulus funds ($57,000); did not fill a half-time secretarial position in maintenance ($9,300); combine the two part-time Administration Office receptionist positions into one full-time position ($8,000). These reductions are a total savings of $212,000.
2. Since 2005, we have been phasing out certified librarians in our elementary schools andreplacing them with non-certified personnel (educational assistants). As of today, we still have certified librarians in three of our elementary schools. Those three individuals, all of whom are certified teachers, will move into the classroom as three teachers resign in December 2009. The net savings will be approximately $80,000-$100,000.
3. We will meet, instead of exceeding, State and Federal regulations regarding special education student-teacher ratios. Meeting rather than exceeding these guidelines will save approximately $200,000 without negatively impacting special education services.
4. We will reduce travel budgets by up to 50% ($40,000). The emphasis will be on reducing out-of-state travel and searching for quality professional development that can be brought to CMS.
All of the above cuts can be accomplished without anyone losing his or her livelihood, as all of these savings have been or will be accomplished this semester by moving current staff into other positions as those positions become vacant, or simply not filling vacancies. I will recommend to the Board that the remainder of the deficit ($60,000) be taken from cash balances. the Board that the remainder of the deficit ($60,000) be taken from cash balances.
It would be fiscally irresponsible if we were not thinking ahead to additional reductions that willneed to be made in the 2010-2011 school year if education suffers further cuts when the
legislature meets in January. Therefore, I will also be recommending “next steps” to the Boardon Tuesday, November 3rd. Those “next steps” will incorporate some of the recommendationsaffecting other district budgets as follows:
Athletics: Move middle school athletics outside the school day. The fiscal impact is that the district would regain the equivalent of two teacher salaries. Middle school coaches would receive an additional stipend to recognize the fact that they would be adding another 45 minutes to their “work day,” but the net savings would still be significant. The educational impact isthat students who need remediation in both reading and math could still participate in sports, andother students would have more time during the school day to take advantage of academic offerings such as Spanish, band, or choir.
Music: Move 6th grade band outside the school day. The fiscal impact is that the district could save one band director’s salary. The educational impact is that students would not be pulled from regular classroom instruction in order to participate in beginning band. In addition, we willeliminate strings as a district-wide program. After five years of effort, we only have 14 students in the program at the middle school level.
Student/Teacher Support: Eliminate up to one-third of the student/teacher support providedthrough Instructional Coaches, Literacy Specialists, and Special Education Liaisons. This would mean that many services currently provided at the district level would have to be absorbed at the school level, and would mean decreased levels of instructional support in some of our Title Ischools.
Part I outlines reductions in our current budget that will happen soon or that have already beenenacted. That is why we can attach a specific dollar amount to these reductions. It is important to emphasize that no one will lose his/her job as a result of these savings, though some staff members will be in different positions.
Part II describes actions we will need to take next year if further cuts occur to the 2010-2011 budget as a result of legislative action in January. We have not attached specific dollar amountsto those reductions because we cannot predict how deep any future cuts may be. If public education does take another significant cut in the next legislative session, budgets that have notbeen named here (health services, technology, individual school sites) will undoubtedly beimpacted, as well.
If you are reading this, you can help by letting the Governor and your legislators know that thiscrisis must be addressed when the legislature meets in January. Remind our elected officials thateducation has already been cut over $200,000,000 dollars statewide. We have not yet felt the full impact of those cuts because most of the reductions have been made up with stimulus money. The stimulus money goes away in 2011.
Contact information for our elected officials is listed below. If you have comments or suggestions, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rhonda Seidenwurm, Ph.D.
Superintendent of School