Ashland School District No. 5, Jackson County, Oregon - The Budget Committee met in a work session Monday, March 9, 2009 at 7:00 p.m. in the Ashland Council Chambers. Present were:
Ruth Alexander )
Keith Massie )
Heidi Parker ) Budget Committee Members
Amy Patton )
Bill Anderson )
Curt Bacon )
Rick Barth )
Larry Cooper )
Rich Whitley )
Juli Di Chiro, Superintendent
Jill Turner, Business Manager
Daniel Cazares, Certified Representative
Judy Kimball, Classified Representative
Jeanne Peterson, Recording Secretary
I. Call to Order
The meeting was called to order at 7:01 p.m. by Keith Massie.
II. Roll Check
A roll of the board was taken and all members were present with the exception of Mat Marr.
III. Update on 2008-09 Funding
Jill Turner explained that the current fund balance is negative $756,000. The district initiated a spending freeze and reduced 4 or 5 days of all staff for this year resulting in a fund balance of negative $221,000. A federal stimulus of $366,000 is anticipated which will result in a fund balance of $145,000 for this year. Juli Di Chiro explained the only way to complete the year with no further changes is to receive the federal stimulus money. The district will be required to submit a proposal to obtain the funds, and those should be received in early June.
Jill Turner explained the uncertainty of funding for next year, and the legislature and governor have made no definitive action for funding. She stated that the district’s cost of living and inflation roll ups resulted in a -$2,864,000 fund balance. Jill Turner reviewed possible revenue scenarios as follows:
· After district reductions of $3,475,000 and a fully funded governor’s budget, the fund balance would be -$311,500. We do not know if the governor’s budget will be fully funded. The February economic forecast was $1.9 billion less than the governor’s budget. The February forecast would result in an additional cut of $1,772,984.
· If 50% of the Educational Stability fund were utilized, we would need to cut $855,811.
· If the Rainy Day Fund was appropriated to education, we would need to cut $104,956.
Juli Di Chiro reviewed the Overview of Education Funding from the Confederation of School Administrators (COSA). Should the legislature choose to help schools, a total of $756 million is available for the biennium from the Educational Stability Fund, the Rainy Day Fund, and the Federal Stabilization Fund.
Juli Di Chiro asked for direction from the committee. At the last meeting of budget committee members, she had recommended that we not build a budget on an additional $1,700,000 reduction. She suggested that we develop another $855,811 of reductions above the current $3.5 million reductions and base our budget on that.
IV. Details of $3.5 million Reduction for 2009-10
Juli Di Chiro listed the $3.5 million in reductions as follows:
Ashland High School
· Transfer one Assistant Principal to Ashland Middle School. Athletic Director becomes .50 Athletic Director and .50 Assistant Principal
· 1 Math position
· 1 Period Foods
· 1 Period English
· 1 Social Studies position
· 1 Continuation Center position (.67 FTE)
· 1 Period Science
· Reorganize how French is taught – eliminate two 1039 French positions
· 1 Counselor position
· 1 Japanese position (.17 FTE)
· 1 Period Orchestra
· 2 Periods Study Skills
· Half-time Librarian
· 1 Period Auto Mechanics
· 1 Period Woodworking
· 2 Secretary positions
· 1 Custodian position
· Half-time Technical Services Coordinator in Library
Ashland Middle School
· 1 Instructional Coach in Reading position
· Band reduction of .08 FTE
· Half-time PE position
· Library position reduced to .40 FTE
· Choir position
· Art reduced .25 FTE
· 1 Sixth Grade position
· Reduce Reading Teacher .30 FTE
· 1 Custodian position
· 1 Secretary position
· Shift funding of Reading teachers to Title I
· 1 Child Development Specialist
· 3 Elementary Teachers
· PE reduced by .35 FTE
· Elementary Strings eliminated. Students start strings in 6th grade instead of 5th
· Half-time custodian
· Athletic Director reduced to .50
· 2 less days for all staff
· Costs of living eliminated – needs to be negotiated with staff
· English as a Second Language position (.30 FTE)
· 1 Special Education position at Ashland Middle School
· 1 Special Education position at Ashland High School
· 2 Mechanics reduced to .75 FTE each
· More funding of Accounting Assistant shifted to bond
· 1 Secretary position
· 1 Maintenance III position (1.0 FTE)
· 1 Maintenance III position (.44 FTE
· 1 Maintenance I position
· Reduce a Special Education Assistant II position
· 1 Secretary position in Athletic Department
· Classified insurance coverage reduction – needs to be negotiated with staff
· Reduce Speech and Language Services Independent Contractor
· Eliminate Resource Conservationist positions
· Reduce Textbooks
· Reduce Technology
· More funding of Facilities Coordinator shifted to bond
· Reduce all Educational Assistant hours
· 1 Assistant Wrestling Coach
· 1 Winter Dance Program
· Reduce high school Intramurals program
· Eliminate Elementary Intramural programs
· Fewer Teams and Coaches at middle school level
· Swimming Pool rental
· Reduce sports travel, materials, supplies
· Reduce club sports allocation
· Reduce vans, buses, coach travel, training supplies
The above reductions total $3,554,646 and impact a total of 44.59 FTE throughout the district. Every program has been impacted and the district still needs to identify additional reductions totaling $800,000.
Questions were asked regarding the level of reduction of the athletic budget. It was clarified that the initial reduction of the athletic budget totaled about 12% which was consistent with reductions to other areas. That reduction was increased when the athletic director position was reduced to half-time.
Juli Di Chiro explained that the Lead Team has been working on an additional $800,000 in reductions which will be presented to the employee groups next. The recommended reductions will be presented to the School Board at the April regular meeting.
Juli Di Chiro reviewed the impact of class size. The demographer’s report is being used to estimate the size of seven kindergarten classes for next year. Class size is only impacted in grades 1-5.
V. Report on Four-Day School Week as possible way to reduce the 2009-10 budget
Steve Retzlaff and Michelle Zundel presented a PowerPoint presentation on a 4-Day School Week Proposal. A copy of the PowerPoint presentation as well as a proposed school calendar is attached hereto. Steve Retzlaff explained that the Four-Day School Week would eliminate Phase II reductions and could reverse some of the Phase I reductions. In addition, it could save up to $1,750,000. He further explained that this is not a recommendation, but is just being presented as one of many options for reducing the budget. This would be an example of what would be considered if we had to reach the $1.7 million additional reduction.
VI. Clarification of Target for this year’s Budget Development
Juli Di Chiro explained that the $800,000 reduction will include a great deal of teaching positions. Everything else that could be done was included in the $3.5 million reduction. When a budget is developed, the district can always choose to spend less. If more revenue is received than what was adopted, the district can spend 10% more without doing a supplemental budget. In addition, if you did receive more revenue, you could set it aside in a reserve.
VII. Consider Revising Budget Calendar
Juli Di Chiro recommended that the committee adopt the revised Budget Calendar which will allow more time for budget development and revenue analysis. The budget document would be presented to the committee on April 27. Consensus was reached to use the revised calendar.
VIII. Public Comment
Public comments were received as follows.
Do not allow the high school librarian position to be cut to half-time. They are an essential part of the school system. Ashland High School has a top library program – do not change that.
Make research based decisions before cutting the library positions. Libraries are important to student achievement. Students do well in schools with well staffed libraries. Librarians make sure the libraries reflect the curriculum of the school. Libraries level the playing field for students who cannot buy books and magazines and who cannot afford internet access at home.
I am highly supporting of all of our district librarians.
Susan Bacon of the Ashland Schools Foundation spoke on the Foundation Board’s reaction to the level of cuts the school district was developing. The focus on the Foundation educational support grants this year will be on literacy and library funding. The funding goal for next year is $410,000. This year it was $250,000. If over $250,000 is raised, the Foundation will use that money to restore librarian hours.
I am concerned about cutting the strings program from the 5th grade. I would urge you to look at research and certain activities. Strings have increased academic performance and provided a connection for students at their schools. This skill improves student retention. Starting at the 5th grade allows students to transition from 5th into Ashland Middle School, and gives them something to practice on to develop discipline.
The Strings program is the feeder program for the middle and high school orchestra program. Keep the elementary strings intact if at all possible. I feel music is a strong portion of why Ashland has such a good quality district.
I started strings this year and it has been invaluable to me. It has improved all other aspects of my learning and I am looking forward to taking it further.
I am an Educational Assistant in the district. I am hearing about making shared sacrifices across the district. But for those of us already making the smallest wages in the district, I am looking at 25 to 50% of my hours being reduced. I would like you to rethink how you are approaching this. It would mean huge shifts of what happens in the classrooms with kids.
I have been in the Ashland School District since preschool. I am a concerned student, well aware of the budget cuts. I am concerned about the decision to let Amy Kennedy go. Female students need to discuss female issues with female counselors. I started a petition to save Amy Kennedy and obtained 414 signatures.
I am a Language Arts teacher at Ashland Middle School. The Phase I reductions already represent cuts to our core programs and core personnel. Some of the most important relationships students make are outside the classroom as well as inside the classroom, including our librarians. A 50% cut there exceeds anything else we are cutting in the district. Also, we are moving from a .8 reading specialist to .5 reading specialist next year. There is no more effective program than the reading specialist instituted at Ashland Middle School. Finally, you should consider those staff members who earn the least in the district and sometimes have the biggest impact on our students. Look carefully at the health benefits and the hours of these staff reductions.
I am current president of AHAA. I am concerned about cutting the strings program. I serve on the Research and Design team at the high school and one of the 21st Century Skills is appreciation for the arts. Preserve the arts.
I attended this meeting because I was concerned about the 4 day school week. I think the PowerPoint presentation was impressive. I would encourage you to consider that alternative. I like the standard week. The 4 day week would provide stability and a tremendous amount of flexibility on Mondays. Tap into the parents of our community to assist with problem solving. I would also like to support the athletic department. I value sports which offer kids a tremendous amount of skills they won’t learn in the classroom.
Tomorrow Educational Assistants will be looking at job changes. 74 educational assistants will be impacted. 20 educational assistants who currently have family insurance will not have it after the proposed reductions. Out of those 20 educational assistants, 5 would not have insurance for themselves. 17 educational assistants who receive medical insurance for themselves only will no longer have it. The educational assistants are a pretty important part of our community and they are taking a big hit.
Juli Di Chiro explained that, due to the timelines of budget development, a target needs to be confirmed tonight. Members agreed that the budget should be developed on the $3.5 million reduction as well as the $800,000 if necessary.
There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 9:25 p.m.
Respectfully submitted by