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Themes from Budget Reduction Community Conversation

I hope that this email finds you well as we approach the start of spring break. As each of you are aware, we are in the process of re-running our replacement Educational Programs and Operations (EP&O) and Capital Improvements and Safety levies on April 23 following the failure of the measures last month. While we are running two levies, the focus of this email is on our EP&O levy as it provides critical revenue to our district for educational programs and makes up 14% of our general fund budget. If the EP&O measure does not pass on April 23, the district would need to reduce spending by $3.96 million to $4.4 million for the 2024-2025 school year.

On March 7, our district hosted a budget reduction community conversation with 73 people attending. We are grateful for everyone who participated: staff, parents/families, and community members. Each participant was assigned a group and provided with a document outlining categories of expenditures within our general fund budget. Over the course of the evening, the nine table groups worked to discuss and review expenditures and identify areas they would recommend for reduction. At the end of the evening, each group posted their list of recommendations, and participants had the chance to review what was developed by other groups.

At the conclusion of the evening, we shared that a summary of the recommendations would be created and shared. For each recommended reduction, you will see a number in parentheses that identifies the number of groups who listed it as a possible reduction (see below). While many recommendations were made, it is important to note that several groups struggled to create a list of reductions that met the targeted amount of $3.96 million to $4.4 million.

The district will be using the recommendations from the community conversation, along with analysis of areas of spending that are not supported by state apportionment/funding (i.e., athletics, extracurriculars, staffing above state funding, etc.), to create an alternate version of staffing for next year should the EP&O not be successful. The need to explore the possibility of these reductions weighs heavily on each of us. I am truly hopeful that we will not need to further explore this difficult pathway.

Thank you to each of you for your support of our district. If you have questions regarding this process or the information that has been shared, please feel free to reach out to me so that we can connect.

With appreciation,
Erin Murphy, Superintendent

Budget Reduction Community Conversation Themes

Specific Categories Suggested:

  • Athletics & Activities: Middle School sports (3), Out-of-district/non-league travel/shortening of seasons (4), C-teams (5), Charter buses (3), Strength Coach (3 + suggestion to combine with Athletic Trainer), Athletic Trainer (1 + suggestion to combine with Strength Coach), Gym supervisor (3), All activities (2), Discretionary stipends (1), and Class advisors (1).
  • Teaching Activities and Support: Behavior support specialist (3), Campus monitor (3), Paraeducators (2), Courier (1), Reduce Librarians (3), Reduce Counselors (3), SSAs & D/A Preventionist (1), Reduce co-taught classes (1), School Psychologists (2), SLPs (1), Nurses (1), Combine current classified staff supervision (1), Reduce number of extended days (2), Reduce/combine custodial staff (1), Field trips (1), Summer school (1), Transitional Kindergarten (1)
  • Building and Central Administration: Reduce T&L Administration/Staff (5), Reduce Deans / additional administrators (5), Reduce Central Office assistants by 2 (1), Communications specialist (1), Central administration reduce by 10% (1), Reduce building budgets / not providing student supplies (3), Hold on new curriculum and reduce training costs (1), Combine administrative support over Maintenance/Transportation (1),
  • Overarching Reductions: Reduce PD/Travel/Conferences (5), Overtime pay (1), Reduce teaching support by 10% (1), Reduce teaching activities by 10% (1), Chartwells contract (4), Hold on salaries (1), Utility efficiency – turn off lights (2), Student walking routes eliminating some bus routes (1), Reduce subscriptions (3), Reduce security cameras/Sonitrol (1), Reduce motor pool (1), Furlough days (1), Software – use free options (1), Reduction of budget for custodial/maintenance supplies (1), Use vans instead of buses when possible (1)

Revenue Generating Opportunities:

  • Soliciting of Support: Grants (2 + specific suggestion to find grant funding for other part of elementary mental health counselor), Community support and programs (1), Sponsors for athletic events (1), Fundraising (1), Share buses with other districts (1)
  • Increasing Costs or Contributions: Partial pay – supplies and sports (1), PTA pay for copies (1)
  • Volunteers Assume Roles: Watch D.O.G. program for campus supervision (1), District communication by volunteer (1)
  • Miscellaneous: Virtual options for training (1), School communication digital (1)