Sunday, March 20, 2011

The Governor's Budget Proposal

Note: If you haven't already done so, please read my earlier article on Governor Kasich's first Biennial Budget.

I've been asked by several folks what I think of the Governor's proposed budget for the next biennium.

The only answer I can give right now is "stay tuned" - we haven't seen the final deal yet. From here, the budget goes to the General Assembly to be translated into law, and it is possible that they will make some adjustments. However, one must presume that the Governor would not submit a budget without talking over key numbers with the leadership of the General Assembly, so I don't expect a lot of changes. But politics can be strange and unpredictable, so we'll have to see.

Our school district receives funding from the State of Ohio via several budgetary programs. Here are the major ones:

  • Reimbursement of property taxes:

    In years past, the General Assembly has enacted various reductions of property taxes. If you examine your property tax bill, you'll see lines labeled "10% Rollback" and "2 1/2% Rollback." These are exactly what they say - reductions in your property taxes. But property taxes are revenue sources for local governments such as counties and school districts, not the State. So to keep the local governments "whole," the State of Ohio sends grants to those local jurisdictions to make up for the lost property tax revenue.

    There was some fear that these two reimbursements would be phased out. Luckily, that seems not to be the case. The impact would have been to increase our property taxes by 14%, yet not have generated one more dime of revenue for our school district (because we have already been getting reimbursed). So far, it seems as through these reimbursements have been retained, and that's a good thing.

    But our luck is not so good with another kind of property tax - the Tangible Personal Property Tax (TPPT). This is a tax on things like business equipment, machinery used in manufacturing, and inventory, and is also paid to local governments, including school districts. Governor Taft signed legislation in 2005 that eliminated the TPPT, but simultaneously implemented a "phase-out" program that would replace the TPPT revenue with grants from the State of Ohio, much like the real property tax rollbacks I mentioned above.

    However, there is one big difference with the TPPT tax repeal - the law specified that the reimbursements would be 100% of the lost TPPT revenue until some point in time, then be reduced a certain percentage each year until eliminated. Under the current law, the 100% reimbursement period lasts through FY13, then is gradually reduced until eliminated after FY18.

    This is no small thing. Our annual funding from this reimbursement program was expected to be $12 million each year through FY13 (as documented in the Five Year Forecast), before entering the phase-out period.

    The Governor's Budget intends to accelerate this phase-out. Specifically, in FY12, it looks like our TPPT reimbursement funding will be about $9 million, and in FY13 it will be about $6 million.

    So in just those two years, we'll get approximately $9 million less in state funding. The picture in later years is less clear, as they are beyond the scope of this biennial budget. But the expectation is that the pain will continue for several years to come.

  • School Foundation Aid:
    Our largest chunk of funding from the State of Ohio is "School Foundation Aid."  This amounts to around $33 million/yr, or about 21% of our total funding.

    The budget documents as submitted by the Governor have the following to say about this item: "GRF (General Revenue Fund) appropriations in the school funding line items ... 200550 (Foundation Funding) increase by 1.4% from FY11 to FY12, and by 1.5% from FY12 to FY13" (see page D-186).

    That sounds like good news, but remember that the State Foundation funding is not passed out evenly across all school districts. Since Hilliard is viewed as an affluent district by the State Board of Education, we get a smaller per-student funding amount than the many low income districts in Ohio.

    In my opinion, we'll be very fortunate if our Foundation Aid funding stays in the ballpark of where we are right now.

  • Federal Stimulus Dollars
    As part of the massive Federal Stimulus Program enacted over the past couple of years, our school district received $2.5 million in FY11 and will get another $1.8 million in FY12. This money was first granted by the Federal Government to the State of Ohio, who then decided how to distribute it to Ohio's school districts. The method they choose was to apportion this money is same percentages as each district's share of the School Foundation Aid funding.

    This money was very handy, in that it played a big part in being able to postpone asking the people of our community to pass another property tax levy.

    Some folks take what I think is a bizarre point of view about this one-time money, which is that because the State of Ohio didn't continue this level of extra funding on its own, there has been a funding cut. It seems to me that a much more rational way to look at this money is as a one-time gift that helped in the short term, but doesn't do anything to address our fundamental fiscal situation.

    Regardless of how you characterize this, it's $4.3 million that we used to fund normal operations that is not going to be in the revenue stream going forward. We knew this, and it was built into the current version of the Five Year Forecast.
So, at this stage of the process, it looks like we might be about where our Treasurer projected we would be, with State funding down about $3.3 million/yr compared to FY11.

That doesn't mean things are hunky-dory.  We are still spending $5 million more than our revenue in FY11, and are projected to spend $12 million more than revenue in FY12 - ignoring revenue from a new levy.

And we still have to see what happens to our Foundation Aid funding.

Stay tuned.


  1. The acceleration of TPP phaseout is subject to the 2% rule that works something like this.

    If your TPP reimbursement is less than 2% of your total revenue, you get nothing this biennium, nothing next biennium and nothing after that. It has essentially been phased out.

    If your TPP reimbursement is greater than 2% of your total revenue, your TPP reimbursement will be phased out at the rate of 2% of your total revenue per year until (I think) 2022. This prevents a district like Marysville who is totally dependent on TPP reimbursement from taking a huge hit in any one year.

    The most interesting part of the foundation discussion is that there is no mention of the word "guarantee" in the blue books. There has been some form of the transitional aid guarantee since 1998 which guarantees districts at least as much this year as they got last year despite enrollment declines. With the end of the guarantee (if true) and the end of Governor Strickland's "Evidence Based" funding formula, no one really knows what will happen to any individual district. Until the formula is released, it is really anyones guess.

  2. Thanks for the additional detail Marc!

    I hadn't heard that there was any possibility of the transitional aid guarantee being messed with. This is $10m/yr for our school district according to the most recent PASS calculations.

  3. I need to point out something here before folks fret too much over the long-term ramifications.

    Kasich's goal is to eliminate the income tax entirely. This is possible today by raising the sales tax to about 8.25%. But that's a tax hike, even if it is offset by the tax elimination.

    The only reason we didn't see this time is because of the $8 billion hole he started with.

    But fast-forward to the next budget after 2 years of the proposed changes.

    Now you can eliminate the income tax and *not* raise the sales tax because the burden for so many things has, correctly, been passed down to the local level (which brings more accountability).

    Yes, this is going to mean local tax hikes, but only if we don't rein in the spending between now and then. Which we have the ability to do of course. It just takes a bit of backbone.

  4. "...which brings more accountability..." Like in Grove City, where they didn't have the controls and oversight to even withhold income taxes.

    And it also creates less efficiency.

    I really, really like what Kasich has laid out so far. And he has talked about providing incentives for local gov'ts to consolidate. But I think the importance of that is being understated right now.

  5. A colleague of mine had a great line: "Computers are devices created to allow men to make mistakes at ever increasing rates."

    I think governments are like that - the bigger the government, the greater the waste and corruption. Yep, Grove City did have a fiscal management problem, and I wonder how that escaped their auditors. But that mistake represents about a nanosecond's worth of the inefficiency at the Federal level.

    The ultimate responsibility for government oversight lies in the hands of the citizens. It doesn't matter whether we're talking a $trillion Federal budget or a township's six-figure budget, if the citizens don't demand transparency AND take the time to observe and question - a government can run amok.

    I'd much rather have a conversation with a township trustee who is also a neighbor and friend. Come to a Brown Twp trustee meeting (there's one tonight) to see how accessible a small government can be. There are routinely more observers and active participants in our township meetings that our school board meetings.

    I think there is a difference between consolidation and shared services. For example, the City of Hilliard and Brown Twp both share fire safety services with Norwich Twp. Norwich Twp also contracts for police service with the City of Hilliard. That makes perfect sense to me. Meanwhile, each of the three communities retain their own elected government.

    The same kind of thing is true with school districts. It can be very beneficial to share services - for example, our school district buys school buses through a statewide buying consortium that gives us access to fleet prices. And this program is available to the smallest school districts as well.

    But it is not necessarily true that all small districts have high administrative costs. I know of a district with 1,200 students that spend $675/student for administration. And there is another district of 1,500 students that spends $1,800/student. Why is there such a wide difference? Certainly local choice plays a
    role. The statewide average is about $1,100 by the way.

    I know that there are some districts which are so small and so poor that it borders on criminal to make kids go to school there. My daughter lives is such a district (but fortunately teaches in another).

    Their bordering district, of a similar size, is one of the best in the state. Would consolidating those two districts be good for the kids of the weaker one? Without question.

    But would it save any money? I don't think so. It's not like the smaller district has a lot of overhead. They have only one school building, and the Superintendent is also the Principal. But if the teachers were consolidated, the ones from the weaker district would almost certainly be brought up to the pay scale of the stronger district, wiping out any administrative savings.

    One of the primary arguments the Founders had about the organization of America was how much power to give to the Federal Govt vs State Governments. They were very careful to reserve for the Federal Govt only the minimum power they felt necessary, and let the States control everything else.

    Likewise, I believe States should let local governments deal with as much as possible, precisely because it makes the government more responsive to the people.

    If the people actually care...

  6. This issue has been on my mind lately, the many layers of our governemnt. Philosophically, I am a small governemt guy. But practically, I can see the advantages that come with economies of scale. I don't think that a large organizations are inherently wasteful. But certainly poorly managed ones are.

    I don't think our governments have a clear set of expectations from us. As a society, we need to decide what services we expect from our government and the best way to pay for them.

    Anyways, time to dust off my Federalist Papers and Anti-Federalist Papers compilation books.

  7. I was disappointed that the day after Kasich's Budget Proposal I was bombarded with emails from the district and individual teachers already threatening cuts. My husband and I respectfully emailed our children's teachers to request that they not scare them since these are all still proposals. Our young ones were terrified during the last levy campaign over what they might lose, etc. THAT certainly is not thinking about what is best for the kids at school.

    The news release ( seems to take into account the cuts proposed by Kasich which are well explained above but I do not see other items taken into account which could decrease the operating expenses such as the elimination of the mandate for all-day Kindergarten and, of course, changes to benefits, pensions and possibly salaries due to Senate Bill 5. Paul, any estimates on how those things would affect the district budget?

  8. Heather:

    Regarding All Day Kindergarten, the current Five Year Forecast has $1 million/yr budgeted starting in FY13 to pay for this. Presuming the final State budget rescinds this requirement, there's $1 million/yr we won't have to spend.

    The impact on compensation and benefits is still unknown, as these are addressed in Senate Bill 5, which is now undergoing debate in the Ohio House of Representatives.

    If SB5 fails, or is passed but repealed via a referendum, we still have to negotiate a new contract with our unions, and their defeat of SB5 might encourage them to be aggressive in their negotiating position.

    If SB5 is signed into law, and withstands a referendum to repeal, school districts will have to figure out how to build a compensation plan that works in the new environment. It's not at all clear how that might look.

    The primary reason I asked the School Board back in January to consider an emergency levy (as suggested by Mike Harrold) was that there were a great many things we didn't know about the State budget.

    We still don't know enough to be confident that a 6.9 mill levy will fund operations as planned. That would be a very uncomfortable position - to pass the levy and still have to make cut.

  9. HeatherDu: At risk to your children, but for good of community, I would simply suggest that you send copies of your emails about teacher behavior in the classroom and how it affects young children to the Supt. and the other 4 worthless board members

    Paul, Is there something that can be done about this unprofessional behavior in the classroom expecially dealing with students (of any age)
    Allready seniors hearing graduation might be affected. I know Mrs Whiting for one will just say it is free speech on the part of the teachers. Thought it is about the kids and their welfare.

  10. Rick: I understand and share your passions and frustrations, but please take it down a notch so that we can keep the dialog open with folks across the spectrum.

    I think your recommendations to Heather is right on: let the building principal know how she feels, and if she's not satisfied, escalate to the Superintendent. If still not satisfied, come speak to the school board.

  11. Thank you for the feedback. I saw in the forecast that $1 million was added for the mandated Kindergarten for FY2013 which also affects benefits so those savings will be beneficial. I hope additional savings will come from approved legislation and contract negotiations.

    One more question: can anyone shed light on what is included in the 'eliminate gifted instruction' line item of the budget cuts? I assume this mainly involves elementary and perhaps some middle school courses but not AP level classes. The other Program items are quite specific but the full impact of the gifted program cuts is not clear to me.

  12. I'm embarrassed to say I don't know the answer to your question about gifted programming, but I will find out!

  13. It seems premature to have put any levy on the spring ballot given the significant unknowns at the state level, but the Hilliard press release that blames the Kasich proposal for the levy is pure sophistry.

    In 2009, the first version of Governor Strickland's Evidence Based Model bestowed tens of millions of dollars on school districts like Olentangy. The Ohio House, controlled by the Governor's party, was horrified by this so they added the "Education Challenge Factor" that was a tool to make the numbers come out the way they wanted to. The difference between the first version of the budget and the final result was day and night. No one knows what will come of the Kasich budget proposal. In fact, the district by district simulations have yet to be released. The reality is that you won't even know the result of the Kasich proposal when you vote on May 3.

  14. Thanks for the perspective Marc.

  15. I echo Marc's sentiment (I'll admit to having to look up the word "sophistry") as far as both the timing of the levy vote and the press release by the District, although I have no doubts as to the timing - a special election will increase the odds of passage and the press release throws gas on the fire. This will be the first time that I will vote No on a levy and that was mainly due to the union contracts not being decided prior to the election. Now my position is solidified by the somewhat(intentionally?) deceptive press release, which basically tells me nothing as far as what is to be cut personnel wise. The "elimination" items I can follow - the "reductions in positions" seems intentionally vague. Until I see union contracts that reflect the economic realities of our district, I will be politicking against the May levy. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

  16. I like how two of the positions eliminated 'if Issue 7 fails on May 3' (according to title) actually were already planned reductions in force as noted at the end of the release. Again, a bit deceptive. I think it would have still been precise but less deceptive to list those with their own heading.

    I am not sold on the levy either. I certainly understand Paul's blog entries and know that the district needs to be solvent. But I look at the numbers and am really bothered when I see that six teachers at the elementary school my son attends made $90+k to work 184 days last year. And from personal experience I know a few of them are not worth anywhere near that. Hopefully the current proposed legislation will give the District and the Board more negotiating room when the union contracts are decided next.

    But as everyone knows, it is hard to say no and hurt the kids. Both of my children are in the gifted program and that is almost always the first item on the chopping block. This one scares me the most as the loss of even one year can disrupt the rest of their years and curriculum choices. My middle school son would lose athletics. We could deal with that as the purpose of school is his education not sports but he did enjoy participating on the golf team. Was a larger pay-to-play option considered? My youngest is a fourth grader and would lose band and strings next year. Again, that is something with which we could live as there will be future opportunities hopefully.

  17. @Heatherdu: Don't take this the wrong way... but Golf Team? In Middle School? Not sure I want my tax dollars paying for that anyway. Still, I suppose it's better than the 'Global Gourmet' course offered at my daughter's high school...

    Also, the reason certain programs are always targeted has to do with tenure and cost savings. Paul can explain this far better than I.

  18. Paul - a question that has me puzzled.

    Average compensation package is around $100k when all the benefits are included. 24 students per class @ ~$10k a student. (Yeah, I know, it's a little more but close enough.)

    So... 24 * 10k = $240k, less $100k ... where the hell is the rest of the money going?

    Or... is the dirty little secret that there aren't anywhere close to 24 students per class...

  19. @Anonymous: Not taken the wrong way at all as I agree with you! The opportunity existed to play golf for the school so he tried and made the team but we paid extra fees to play and provided our own transportation to practices and many of the meets. But, I am with you, it and all athletics are simply nice to have and easily eliminated in favor of the many, many other things that should be the focus of the district and schools. I read more and more about other districts beginning or increasing the pay-to-play ideas. I'm all for this. I just wonder if the option of paying more to play for those that do want to play was considered instead of simply dropping all athletics.

    I believe that gifted and music programs are often targeted especially at the elementary level because they are not required by the state. Students are to be identified but laws and policies do not require special separate classes, etc. This is from the Ohio Department of Education website: Currently, school districts are required to identify gifted students, but are not mandated to provide any services for gifted students.

  20. Here's a few stats, taken from the 2010 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, p103:

    In the years from 2000 to 2010:

    ADM (student population) increased from 12,409 to 15,487, or 3,078 (25%)

    The remainder of these stats are expressed in ADM per full-time-equivalent (FTE) employee. Note that when the ADM per FTE decreases, it means the number of employees is growing faster than the number of students

    Regular Education Teachers: 20 to 20 (no change)

    Bus Drivers: 230 to 130 (-44%)
    Teaching Aids: 215 to 140 (-35%)
    Special Ed Teachers: 169 to 126 (-25%)
    Tutors: 195 to 168 (-18%)
    Secretarial: 187 to 169 (-10%)
    Administration: 237 to 226 (-5%)

    In aggregate, the number of students per employee has dropped from 10.13 in 2000 to 9.11 in 2010.

    Put another way, the number of students has grown 25% over those 10 years while the FTE employment has grown 39%. But note that the ratio of Regular Classroom Teachers to ADM has not changed at all.

    So all growth in employees per student has been in job functions other than Regular Classroom Teachers.

  21. The decisions as to which programs would get cut first when bringing the budget into balance are part fiscal and part political.

    The total spending for supplemental salaries for sports and music at the middle school level is about $400,000 per year. Of that, we spend about $9,400 on the supplemental salaries of the three middle school golf coaches.

    So whether or not we keep middle school golf is not going to have much of an impact on our $165 million annual spending budget. But it is politically uncomfortable to choose which extracurricular programs to keep or cut. So the easier thing is to just cut all programs in a category - middle school extracurriculars in this case.

    But these are all just band-aids. The real issue is that our personnel spending per student has increased 25% (from $6,876 to $9,223) since 2003, which is a compound annual rate of 4.28%.

    And that hasn't been so much due to new programming as it per FTE spending, which has risen from $63,611 in 2003 to $80,635 in 2010, which is a CAGR of 4.29%.

    In other words, the cost of raises and increased benefits is slowly squeezing everything else out of the budget.

    Put yet another way, raises and benefits come first - programming second.

    Because it's all for the kids.

  22. The pay-to-play for sports in the HCSD is generally rejected by the district using the reasoning that it isn't fair to those families who cannot afford it. Conversely, the lack of pay-to-play is generally accepted as a cost that all taxpayers should bear, regardless of whether they can afford it. As Paul has pointed out though, middle school sports is such a minuscule part of the budget to begin with, that it is simply hostage taking to do away with it, particularly in light of where the true increases in the budget are occurring. Perhaps the Audit & Accountability Committee needs a stronger voice when it comes to communicating with the public?
    Again, my levy vote this time will be No, for the first time ever. Until I see that the major, by far, part of the budget is being addressed, I simply cannot give the levy my stamp of approval. Yes, it is going to be tough on the kids, but that is on the Boards shoulders, not mine, and it can and should be a temporary blip if the Board does the right thing regardless of how the vote turns out.

  23. Heather:

    Here is the answer from the Administration in regard to your question about AP classes:

    "First, it is important to note that the state requires school districts to identify students as gifted, but school districts are NOT required to provided services. In fact, Governor Kasich’s draft budget appears to eliminate all funding for gifted education. The teaching positions that are eliminated in this line are those that provide pull-out instruction. For example, a fourth or fifth grade student that leaves their traditional classroom for a while to receive instruction in a separate area or school from a gifted teacher. We also offer courses at the sixth and seventh grade that are taught by gifted teachers. Beginning in eighth grade, gifted students are able to start taking high school courses for credit and that is how we meet their needs. At the high school level, the district offers honors or advanced courses in some subjects as well as Advance Placement courses. The high school options are not directly included in this line. However, also keep in mind that if the issue fails, we will reduce 13 classroom teachers. While this initial reduction may not impact these specific courses, if you only have so many teachers you have to first teach the state requirements before you can offer “extras” such as AP or honors versions of a course."

    I would have preferred a simple "Yes" or "No", but the reality is that until we know what the state funding looks like, nothing is definite.

  24. @Heatherdu: The reason things are eliminated is only partially what Paul has pointed out -- state mandates, versus "nice to have".

    The other reason is tenure. While the district has to eliminate on the "last in, first out" premise, it isn't a district wide thing. The district can eliminate a 20 year teacher, if that teacher is the one with the least tenure in a targeted cut.

    That's the other reason the specialist programs are targeted; more bang for the buck.

    I am really torn on this issue, but I'll be actively campaigning against the levy because I believe the administration (and to some extent, the board) are continuing to look at the big picture with blinders on and are simply not addressing the fundamental issues that the district is facing.

    There's been too much kicking of the proverbial can down the road, and it has to stop.

  25. Paul, thanks for the coaching. I regress and apologize

    Question? Given the huge amount of coaches at the High School Level in many of the sports, could not some of that money be reallocated to middle school or to some of the elementary gifted
    programs. The supplemental budget that comes up it seems every meeting has all kinds of fat in it.
    12 coaches for track and field in the 3 High schools. Do the middle schools need assistant coaches in some sports. Along with an increased pay to play, I think a basic middle school program could work. Also, a question would be on some of the new high school curriculum? Could sports mgt? Why? some of the craft classes, go to pay to play, and save that money for perhaps a small contribution offset to the elementary gifted program. Also at high school level, honors versus AP, AP gets you the extra college credit PROVIDED you pass the AP test. Do we need full honors programs versus
    a measureable AP program.?

    The other cuts are doable easily, and a signficant saving (and eliminate a need for a levy altogether) would be to have 3 unpaid furlough days. Many companies have done this, the state has done this as well as many cities.

    Better yet perhaps at this chaotic economic juncture, lets just go back to spending of just 3 years ago, and you can balance this budget.

    By taking a line by line reduction with a magnifying glass, we can keep a good foundation.
    We paid out great increases while times were good and so conversly we can cut back for a time until things will improve.

    Again, and I will beat a dead horse, one of the fundemental reasons I now oppose this levy and EVERYONE should, that until the board and the administration take a hard line with the HEA about these levy discussions in the classroom with young students who have no financial background other than to hear what they might not get to do. Also, before a levy passes we need to now how much of this levy is going to pay increases and other compensation/benefit increases in real dollars come the end of the year. The community needs a commitment from the HEA and the District today, that work to the contract is off the table.

    This every two year levy cycle that is now reality is going to hurt many members of this community and put their home ownership at risk.

  26. "We paid out great increases while times were good and so conversely we can cut back for a time until things will improve."
    Rick - you took the words right out of my mouth. When I was visiting the Dispatch forums on this subject, I saw I don't know how many posts from teachers/supporters who made mention of the fact that when times were good, teachers did not feel so "picked on" and it struck me that they don't seem to realize those good times are over for many others, at least in the present and for the past several years. I always say that I WISH we could pay them more but the reality is that we can't, unless we cut services to the kids. The priorities were out of whack in 2008, and I too, will be voting No until it is proven to me that they are not still out of whack. I still feel betrayed by past practices and won't take a chance again.

  27. Thanks, Paul and all others. That is essentially what I expected on the gifted cuts - specifically cut the elementary level but leave some wiggle room to play with the middle school level and hopefully not touch high school. It would not be in the district's best interest to eliminate AP courses because if they are eliminated Hilliard will lose its reputation as a great college-prep system.

    What isn't specifically addressed and what concerns me the most is that if those sixth and seventh grade gifted classes are eliminated then the students are not prepared to take the high school level courses early. Currently, in sixth grade, the students can take an accelerated math courses which combine 6th and 7th or even 6th, 7th, and 8th grade math into a single course. The same material is covered so state requirements are met and students are prepared for standardized testing but the pace and detail of instruction differs from the standard math courses. The same is true in 7th grade where students can take a Compacted Science course which combines 7th and 8th grade courses into a single course. If the accelerated options are not available then the students will be required to take the normal courses to meet the state requirements and will not have the option of taking high school courses early.

    I am against the levy and see the numbers and know that many non-program changes need to be made. But I understand why so many parents just give in as our children are the ones that are hurt.

  28. Rick's comment about the number of high school coaches and assistants made me take another look at the proposed cuts. As is human nature, my first few reactions to the cuts were how will they affect my children and I don't have a child in the high schools yet. But as I look at each section of proposed cuts, I see very little at the high school level. In the spirit of community, the cuts should be shared across all students.

    Nothing in the Programs section affects the high schoolers. Fifth grade band and strings, middle school athletics and pull-out gifted instruction. That's grades K-8.

    The Classroom Teachers section is too vaguely listed to guess though to put a number on it someone must have a good idea. Still I would hope that this would be spread across the grades. The result at high school would probably be the elimination of an elective or possibly the reduction of sections offered.

    The Technology section lists seven positions for K-5, five for 6-8, and two for 9-12. I assume Repair Technicians are for the entire district. I admit that I do not know much about these positions or their roles in the schools. From what I have seen, this type of position works with the entire school at the K-8 level where the two teachers at the high school level probably only affect a small percentage of students that may have chosen an elective that will no longer exist.

    Transportation, well I'm not sure how many field trips high school students take but I know that they have already been cut greatly at K-8. The gifted transportation will not be needed if the program does not exist. And why are we paying for anyone's daycare transportation? Even so, high school students do not need daycare so that again would be an elementary cut.

    The Administration section lists a position already known to be eliminated and then all middle school cuts.

    Finally there is Hall Monitors, Secretaries, and Custodians. These are reductions and not eliminations. I honestly am not sure what a Hall Monitor does at the high school but reducing one per high school does not seem like it would have a huge impact.

    So it appears to me that the cuts are unfairly slanted against our youngest students. I would like to see something non-academic such as some of the coaching positions mentioned in Rick's post cut and that money used to cover the academic gifted programs that are being threatened.

    Again, I admit that I am learning here. Who does come up with these cuts? Does the board have any say? Yes, I will be at the next meeting.

  29. The cut lists are developed by the Superintendent and his staff, and normally presented to the Board for discussion and approval. That may be what is planned for Monday's meeting, although I haven't seen an agenda yet.