Friday, April 13, 2012 —
In an attempt to prepare for a projected $3.1 million shortfall in the 2012-2013 budget, the finance committee for Stanly County Schools approved a draft of proposed reduction ideas during their committee meeting Tuesday night. The proposals will be presented to the full Stanly County School Board on May 1.
Carrie Cox, finance director for Stanly County Schools, explained that despite seeing a project increase of $635,000 in local revenue for return of retirement incentives and debt payment, the school system is expected to lose $1.96 million due to the decrease in the Federal Education Jobs bill, as well as an additional $453,662 in a reduction to state allotments.
Meanwhile, the state expenses, including employer retirement and hospitalization costs, are expected to increase by $596,206, and the local expenditures, which include debt payment, employer retirement and hospitalization costs, utility costs and rent for the central office location at the Stanly County Commons, are expected to increase by $734,581.
The finance committee has held three workshops to identify recommendations for spending reductions. During the workshops, members of the committee ranked each of the 34 ideas by order of importance. Though these ranks were initially averaged to create an order of importance list, final changes were made at Tuesday night’s meeting to reorder some of the recommendations so that those that had the most impact on personnel and classrooms appeared last on the list.
“I want to try my best to reduce things instead of people,” Cox said, adding that the list of reductions would be enforced by order of importance until the system reaches the $3.1 million threshold.
Finance Committee member Chris Whitley agreed.
“It makes perfect sense. Everybody will be touched in one way or another by the reductions but the things that don’t affect people should go higher on the list,” Whitley said.
The recommended spending reductions (and their projected savings), though not in their newly ranked order, include:
Closing Ridgecrest Elementary School, $623,912;
Upgrade voice over Internet Protocol system, $17,000;
Reduce the number of school resource officers from three to two positions, $30,000;
Offer retirement incentive of $10,000 to certified and $5,000 to non-certified employees who are eligible for 95 to 100 percent of their benefit. The projected savings of $786,610 is based on 100 percent acceptance and not replacing 12 certified employees.
Increase the billable amount to $2 per mile for all activity bus mileage, $250,000;
Increase billable amount to $54.43 plus excess use for school cellular service, $12,691;
Reduce 10 percent of school allocation for field trips, supplies and materials, $67,000;
Adjust the number of security officers per athletic event paid by the system, $28,600;
Reduce 10 percent of school allocations for athletics and band or art, music and physical education, $7,690;
Eliminate 100 percent of NCJETS funding to three high schools at $2,800 each, $8,400; Four rounds of not replacing an additional five certified employees after retirement incentives for a cumulative total of 32 certified employees. This is expected to save $278,500 for each round, for a total savings of $1.11 million;
Reduce employee mileage reimbursement, $90,000;
Reduce additional 10 percent of allocations for field trips, supplies and materials, $67,000;
Reduce additional 10 percent of allocations for athletics, band or art, music and physical education, $7,690;
Reduce an additional 30 percent for a total of 50 percent of allocations for athletics, band or art, music and physical education, $23,070;
Reduce five to 10 percent of supplemental pay for principals, assistant principals and teachers resulting in a half a percent average reduction in annual salary, $174,000;
Reduce annual salary for superintendent, associate superintendent and directors, resulting in half a percent reduction in annual salary, $5,710;
Reduce additional 10-15 percent for a cumulative 15-25 percent of supplemental pay for principals, assistant principals and teachers resulting in a 1.4 percent average reduction in annual salary, $261,000;
Reduce annual salary for superintendent, associate superintendent and directors resulting in a 1.4 percent reduction, $15,990;
Adjust athletic coach supplement schedule to eliminate years of experience, $63,820;
Increase regular teacher assistants from seven and 1/2 to eight hours, and pay only for student days, $193,200;
Reduce teacher assistants to six hours and pay only for student days, $626,640;
Reduce teacher assistants to seven hours and pay only for student days, $409,920;
Reduce teacher assistants to seven hours, $241,080;
Reduce teacher assistants to six hours, $482,160;
Offer retirement incentives of $7,500 to certified and $3,750 to non-certified employees who are eligible for 80-94 percent of their benefits. Projected savings are based on 100 percent acceptance and not replacing 10 certified employees, $305,740;
Eliminate field maintenance supplements for spring, summer and fall, $10,800;
Implement a power management system for technology so machines are turned off when not in use, $101,200;
Implement a small appliance policy to restrict all small refrigerators, coffee makers, space heaters, microwaves and toaster ovens to break rooms, teacher lounges and staff areas, $47,000;
Implement a vending machine policy to reduce, limit or restrict vending machines at school sites, $40,000; and,
Pay non-certified employees in accordance with state salary ranges, undetermined.
Exact figures for some of the recommendations, such as offering retirement incentives, are not known at this time because the deadline to accept the early retirement has not been reached at this time, and the board would have to approve all incentives.
The proposed recommendations for spending reductions will be presented to the full board on May 1, at which time they could make changes or decide to move forward with the proposals.