D9 budget waits for clearer picture from the state

The organizational meeting of the District 9 Budget Committee was held May 13.

In her budget message, District 9 Superintendent Cynda Rickert listed three fiscal challenges as well as solutions facing the district in the next biennium.

Challenge #1: The district spent more than it received in revenue the previous four years. If continued, this would result in less than the 5-10% carryover required by the board’s own policy.

Solution: Spring of 08, $800,000 was cut from the current budget. Fall of 08, purchased services, supplies and materials budgets were frozen. A line item process was started for all purchases. In 08-09 a cut of $2.1 million was made.
And, Rickert said even with these cuts the district will have been about $1 million more than it received in revenue.

Challenge #2: The unknown economic forecast. The shortfall announced by the state
was estimated at $500 million for 09-11 budget. That was September. By February 09 the shortfall was $3-$4 billion. The May 13 budget meeting was waiting for the May 15 economic report and additional information this week and in weeks to come to better understand the available resources for an 09-11 budget.

Solution: In addition to the $2.1 million cut,  36 full time equivalent positions were cut.  Rickert said depending on the upcoming economic report from the state, there could be more cuts if the state budget comes in at less than $5.4 billion for education statewide.

Challenge #3: The district has not adequately funded basic needs in maintenance, textbooks, materials, technology and secondary athletics and activities.

Solution: A maintenance planning budget is being funded by an annual energy tax credit savings. One time federal and state money for textbooks, intervention materials for reading and math, staff development for using the new materials. Title IID and E-rate dollars will be used to purchase and replace technology across the district. There may be reductions in athletics and activities for 09-10.

Dr. Zaklan explained the budgeting process for this year focused on instruction for students. He explained that financial plans should support the vision and mission of the district and reflect expenditures based on long range plans for continuous improvement.  Budgets should be sustainable realizing one time money, such as the current stimulus dollars, can only be spent one time.

He handed out a possible budget document based on state education funding of $5.4 billion after explaining that it was a legal requirement to present a budget on the advertised date. However, the remainder of the budget meetings will be moved to June 17 and 18 with the public hearing and special board meeting on June 24. Next week’s Upper Rogue Independent will have additional information on the anticipated funding level for the state and for District 9.
By Nancy Leonard
Of the Independent

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