Friday, April 30, 2010

The LIST . . . Part II

Below is the updated list of 31 potential budget reductions for the 2010-2011 school year. The Board has agreed to consider 15 of the 31 ideas more closely (highlighted in the attachment). The other 16 items not highlighted are not under consideration at this time.

Potential Budget Reductions 04302010


KClarinet said...

Looking at the revised list, my attention is drawn to a couple of items I hadn't even noticed before because, I guess, they didn't mean anything to me directly. But now I'm wondering:

What exactly is the benefit of Senior Release Time and, more important for now, what saving does eliminating it represent to the district?

What specific classes are meant by Family Consumer Science classes? Is that the modern term for everything that used to be called Home Economics and more recently Family Living? By secondary schools, does that mean the whole department would go (since those classes don't exist in the elementary schools)?

How much is it possible to increase class size at the high school? There is a contractual limit, isn't there? How close to the limit are the classes currently?

In my opinion (many who use the buildings at night will disagree) increasing building usage fees shouldn't even require discussion - the fees should at least realistically cover the expense of extra custodial staff, heat/AC, lighting and the inevitable cleanup that needs to be done after outside events. Of course you can't raise fees so high that they drive customary users to go elsewhere and you actually lose money.

What do the two references (#4 and #16) to aquatic programs cover? Are those meant to apply to use of the pools during regular classes or do they mean after-hours community swimming programs?

Susan said...

Yes, KClarinet: Family and Consumer Science is what used to be "home economics" - but the curriculum is far more than cooking and sewing. My daughter is currently enrolled in this class and it places an important focus on community service as a life-habit. A number of the assignments are geared to that end. In my opinion, courses like this should carry significantly more weight that the so-called "sacred cows" - ie. athletic programs.

JS said...

Susan, people may have their opinions about athletics, but do 800+ students take Consumer Science classes during the year (that's just the athletes at the high school)? I'm not saying academics shouldn't carry more weight, but don't minimize the impact athletics have on the enrichment of a student. Nevermind the financial and educational benefits regarding scholarships.

If you really want to get down to dollar for dollar. If you cut 1 Consumer Science teacher who has 11 years experience you would save $78k in salary, $14-20k in health benefits, and another $6k in pension contributions (that's at 8%, it would be $23k at 30% contribution). That's a total of $98,000-$104,000 by eliminating 1 Consumer Science teacher.

Now, let's take a sport like soccer. There are approx. 60 boys that play and 40 girls. That's 100 kids (about the max that a teacher would teach through 1 year). Cutting the coaches you would save $30,000 in salaries, and (assuming 20 games a year per group with referees paid $75,not sure what the actual rate is) $15,000 in official pay. Now we're at $45,000 and we've taken an opportunity away from 100 students each.

You'd have to cut the entire Field Hockey program as well to make up the same savings as letting go 1 teacher (regardless of subject). Nevermind you would have to take an entire opportunity away from double the amount of students at the same time.

Sacred Cows don't cost as much as you think.

Levittowner said...

Glad to see the list cut down now. The "list", while disappointing to look at at all, at least got rid of the worst of the options.

Having written that, I feel strongly that school sports and arts programs inspire a drive to excell both in and out of the classroom.Having children who participated in bothschool as well as community programs, I can assure you that the school programs offer something quite different from community programs.

Activity fees are better than cutting the programs all together, but I will be *so* disappointed if we end up having to pay a fee just so union members can keep all their perks.

Increased class size in the high school can never be good, but overall you all did the best you could with the list.

LetsBePractical said...

I posted a comment regarding this issue earlier, but I feel compelled to address it again. I am concerned about the idea of cutting the Co-Op Program. If this program gets cut, those students will remain in the building for the full day as opposed the the 1/2 day school and 1/2 work schedule they are currently on. That means that these students would need to be added to class lists for the remainder of the day that they normally would be working. I understand that (by LAW) once the numbers for these classes--especially the special education classes hits the max, then new classes will need to be opened up. Wouldn't this potentially require hiring more teachers and ultimately counterproductive? In addition, lets not forget that these Co-Op students are earning credits while they are out at work and not in the building. In fact, the Co-Op Program probably INCREASES likelihood that many of these students WILL graduate. IF we force these students back into classes for the full day, I suspect that many will fail and/or drop out. How is this going to save money in the long run, let alone keep our graduation rate high and drop-out rate low? Maybe a compromise could be that the Board consider whether we really need a Co-Op Teacher AND a FT Job Coach at the High School. I am not sure what the responsibiity of the Job Coach is, but is a Job Coach really necessary? I am also told that the position is NOT a part of the NFT. I suspect that cutting the Co-Op program in it's entirety this year, will have and more detrimental fiscal impact on the community in years to come.

acs said...

Prediction: activity fees, aquatic usage increase and OUTSOURCING.

The list of 31 gets defered to next year to help solve the next deficit caused by escalating healthcare cost due to the still unsettled NFT contract and the lack of a competent insurance broker to help the district.

acs said...

Sorry William I left off one other prediction. Zero tax increase!