At last Wednesday's BS Committee meeting we were presented with 3 PMA budget models based on assumptions of state increases in the revenue cap of $275/student (Last year's number), 50% of that and 0. For these cases the budget deficit ranges from 0.7 to 1.3 million dollars for the district in 2009-10 budget year. Further, Gov. Doyle has indicated that we shouldn't expect any increases in state aids so any increases in spending under the revenue cap would have to born by the local property taxpayer, an unpalatable option given the current economy.
So one way or another there is going to be a substantial hole in the budget.
What should we do about it? Craig has started the process by asking the staff to bring forward suggestions for places to cut. The administration will go through the various options and prioritize them then bring them to the board for discussion.
Approximately 80% of the district's spending goes into salaries and benefits which means that any significant savings can only be achieved at the cost of reducing staff. I am loathe to see anyone layed-off in the current economy, so I hope that staff reductions can be minimized. Of course some savings can be found in other areas but there just isn't that much there to begin with.
I can't speak for the board or administration, but personally I would choose to focus on preserving efforts to improve core academic achievement. I've been in organizations that try to save money by trimming a little bit out of everything, but this is a quick road to mediocrity where nothing is done well. We should admit we can't do everything, pick the things we want to do and provide the resources to do them well.