School Board discusses fiscal year 2013 budget cuts

By on March 2, 2012

by Keith Beebe
KANELAND—Kaneland School Board members on Monday continued a discussion the fiscal year 2013 cost reduction plan, which will seek to eliminate $1.1 million in expenditures.

The reduction plan, first presented at the School Board meeting on Feb. 13, uses a cost-center approach to target expenditures at the elementary school, middle school, high school and district levels. This will be the third consecutive year that Kaneland has used the cost-center approach to reduce expenditures. In that time, the district has trimmed over $6.3 million in projected costs.

Superintendent Jeff Schuler’s presentation at the Feb. 13 meeting outlined cost centers as a line-item approach that engages all administrators in the process to determine how to address Kaneland’s fiscal reality, yet preserve (the district’s) educational mission. The cost-center approach also “analyzes all costs associated with educating a student at each respective level, (and) allows for the analysis of overall impact of cuts at each respective level.”

Cost-center targets for reduction in fiscal year 2013 are:
• Elementary: $194,589. Includes reduction of number of sections, which will cut 2.0 full-time equivalent (FTE) positions and increase class size in grades 3-5, from 19-26 students to 22-28
• Middle school: $121,374. Includes reduction of core staff members—4.0 FTE certified—and reduction of exploratory sections, or 1.0 FTE certified. Class size will increase from 24-29 students to 28-33
• High school: $163,712. Includes reduction in number of sections—6.0 FTE—and one library assistant, or 1.0 FTE classified. Class size will increase from 24-29 students to 28-33
• District: $620,325. Includes reduction of English Language Learner (1.42 FTE) and early childhood sections (.5 FTE, .5 FTE classified)

In total, the reduction plan will cut 14.92 FTE certified positions and 1.5 FTE non-certified positions.

“The overall impact on staffing is that we expect to lose about 15 certified positions and 1.5 non-certified positions,” Schuler said. “Clearly the cuts are needed to prepare a balanced budget for next year. Our commitment to our community is that we will provide the highest quality educational program with the resources that are available. We have certainly attempted to minimize the impact of the budget cuts on our educational program, and I thank all our administrators for their continued efforts to do so.”

Schuler’s presentation outlined a “triangle of savings” model, which breaks down district expenditures into three categories: student programs, staff workload and operational services. The presentation indicated a reduction of $341,076 in operational services (non-industrial supplies, early retirement options, review of third-party services, refinement of budget process, etc.), $740,700 in staff workload (alternative deliveries of selected supplies, reduction of instructional supplies, employee workload, reduction of administrative services), and $20,000 in student programs.

Schuler said the district will not have any retirements this year, so the amount of job loss will be fairly consistent with the number of reduced FTE.

A community forum regarding the budget cuts was held Feb. 23, with the intent to garner feedback and answer questions about the proposed reductions. According to Schuler, among the topics discussed at the forum were student fees, both book/material and discretionary fees, the number of retirees that might offset job loss, further state cuts that might impact fiscal year 2013 budget, the impact of adding a transportation fee to activities, bid specifications and how they are developed, union negotiations and the hourly wage for teacher supervision, and how thin all employees are currently spread within the district.

The School Board is expected to finalize budget reductions at the KSB meeting on Monday, March 12.