Thursday, August 12, 2010

Cost Savings at RASD

Today I would like to discuss some of the cost cutting measures the school district has taken this summer and the consequences of those cost cutting measures. If you have followed this blog for awhile, you may remember a discussion about the school district’s five year budget model. Based on the budget model (which includes less governmental funding and increased pension costs), even if the district raises property taxes one mill a year the district would still be over two million dollars in debt in five years. Obviously cost savings is in order. The administration will present a rough draft of a cost savings plan to the board in September. In the meantime, the district has not replaced three teachers that have resigned this summer. The savings to the school district is close to $150,000. This has resulted in increased class sizes in the elementary school. Even though class sizes are larger than in the past, the Kindergarten and First grade class sizes are still below twenty per class, and the largest class sizes are only 24 students per class. The district will provide added supports in these classes and I am confident that there will be no detrimental effect on education.

You may also hear some talk in the national news about how the federal government is providing funds to the States to “save teacher jobs”. This sounds very good in theory but the devil is in the details. I anticipate that the school district will receive no new funds to “save” teachers jobs. Rather, I suspect that the State will simply substitute this money with funds the school district is already going to receive. In other words, the State will simply use the “new” money to replace money that is already budgeted for education. I could be wrong about this, but based on past practice this is what I anticipate occurring. I will keep you updated on any changes.

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