District Provides Review of Finances, Presents Staffing Plan for 2018-19

As part of a mid-year review of the budget, Assistant Superintendent for Business Services Eric Miller provided the Board of Education on Monday information about an evaluation of the district’s finances the administration has been engaged in to determine possible efficiencies.
Miller explained this evaluation began at the start of the school year, with the goal being whether the administration could identify solutions or changes in practice that would allow the district to continue providing the same level of service or similar throughout all areas of the organization at a lesser cost.  He emphasized it was not to cut staff or programming for the sake of reducing our spending.
Some of the efficiencies the district will be moving forward with include rebidding service contracts such as waste and recycling at a lesser cost, working with other government agencies to joint bid for services like special education transportation and outsourcing large scale printing needs. To date, it is estimated this will result in close to $1 million in savings for District 34. However, the administration is continuing this important work leading into the development of next year’s budget.
“We must be responsible stewards of the community’s resources by continually evaluating our budgetary constraints in tandem with the needs of our students,” Miller said. “Our latest financial projections show deficit spending for the next five years, and the efforts we have been engaged in as an administration will help decrease, although not completely eliminate, this growing deficit.”
In addition to Miller’s presentation, Executive Director of Human Resources Dr. Heather Hopkins also presented a tentative staffing plan. In looking at staffing needs for the 2018-19 school year, anticipated changes in student populations coupled with a more strategic deployment to staffing has resulted in a projected reduction of approximately 25 staff members across the district. The majority of this decline represents a variety of support staff due to changing student needs.
“I want to emphasize that these numbers will change, as they are merely an estimate at this point in time. However, they provide us important insight about the needs of our buildings as we begin the process of developing our budget for next year,” Hopkins said.
She added that the projected reduction in staffing also does not directly translate into an employee losing their job, as the district is hopeful some of this will be covered through natural attrition (e.g. retirements, staff not returning, extended leaves, etc.)  It is expected the Board of Education will take action on the staffing plan at its next meeting.