The Carroll School Board adopted an $81.9 million budget that reduces staffing by eight positions, gives a one-percent general pay increase and relies on flood control funds and Fund Balance to help cover costs. The budget is based on a tax rate of $1.42 per $100 assessed valuation, which includes a 1.5-cent drop in the debt service tax rate and a two-cent increase in the maintenance and operations tax rate. Voters will decide the outcome of the two-cent Tax Ratification Election (TRE) on September 15.
If the election passes the additional two cents will generate about $1.1 million in new tax revenues to help cover operating expenses. All of the money for the two cents will remain in Carroll ISD. If the election does not pass Trustees will consider a number of other options to address the deficit. The options include, but are not limited to using more Fund Balance to cover costs, changes to student schedules, class sizes, and/or programs; a reduction in teaching, support staff and administrative positions; the sale of property; a shift in the fiscal year; and/or other identified cuts. Early voting begins August 28 and ends on September 11. Details on voting times and locations are available on CarrollDragons.com.
The adopted budget is based on taxable values of $5.6 billion, an enrollment of 7,632 students and revenue per Weighted Average Daily Attendance (WADA) of $5,564 – down from $6,026 per WADA in the prior year. The budget also includes a one-time supplemental payment to all employees in a total amount not to exceed $690,000. Until this budget year, teachers had not had a raise in two years; all other staff had not had an increase in three years. The Board was able last year to use revenue from utility rebates to give a one-time supplemental paycheck of $650 ($325 for part-time positions) to employees.
The adopted budget accounts for the decrease in the one-time federal EduJobs funding which supplanted State funding in 2011-12. It also incorporates a $250 bus rider fee for all student riders, with a $500 family cap. The budget outlook calls for $79,147,968 in revenues and $81,960,215 in expenditures, requiring a projected $2,812,247 change in the district’s Fund Balance. If the TRE on September 15 does not pass, the deficit will be $3.9 million.
In other business, the Board:
The Carroll School Board approved a framework for balancing the budget Monday that will keep block scheduling in place this next year. Instead of making scheduling or program cuts, Trustees approved the Administration’s plan to staff more efficiently during the 2012-2013 school year.Described as the 4-4-2-2-2-2 plan, the staffing proposal calls for a reduction of 16 teaching positions at six campuses over a two-year period. The Board only approved the first year of that two-phase plan, which will mean the reduction of eight teaching positions for 2012-2013 – two each at the high schools and one each at the middle schools and intermediate schools.
The Board’s vote to reduce eight teaching positions next year is only the first step in a multi-year plan to reduce expenses and increase revenues. Other line items in the Administration’s framework include possible student participation fees, a two-cent tax ratification election, the sale of property, a shift of the fiscal year and bus rider fees. Trustees will discuss these additional line items in the near future. CISD expects a $5 million state funding shortfall this next year. The district has sufficient fund balance to address the deficit short-term, but has committed to balancing the budget over the next 3-5 years.
No teachers are expected to lose their jobs, but rather the reductions will be made through retirements, resignations and reassignments. The district has already cut administrative and paraprofessional positions in previous budgets, with plans to reduce even more in those areas in future budgets. In year three of the framework, the Administration has proposed to reduce each elementary school by one position for a total of five. Again, no teachers are expected to lose their jobs, and to date, Trustees only took action on the 2012-2013 staffing reductions.
Trustees say they will continue to discuss and consider each line item of the Administration’s framework for balancing the budget over the next several years, but they wanted to go ahead and give campus administrators an answer about block scheduling as students begin registering for classes this month. By law, the Board has until the end of August to approve the 2012-2013 budget.
Although block scheduling has been discussed as a possible program cut for the past several years, parents and staff had strong opinions about maintaining block scheduling if at all possible. Trustees say they favored an idea by the Administration to reduce positions through attrition instead of cutting the popular 9-12 scheduling option. Officials say the campus administrators have already kept some positions vacant to help reduce overall costs but the salaries associated with those positions had not yet been removed from the annual operating budget.