Harper Wants Direction on Dealing with $3.2M Deficit

While much smaller than anticipated, the shortfall is still sizable in 2013 and expected to grow annually through 2017, officials say.

The school board will host a special meeting in the coming weeks to deal with a projected $3.2 million operating fund deficit for fiscal year 2013.

While the district’s finances have greatly improved with the ratification of two union contracts, the district is still facing operating fund deficits starting in 2013 and continuing through 2017, according to a profile from the district’s financial advisors PMA Financial Network.

An amended budget approved earlier this month, which includes additional federal E-Rate and Title I grants as well as savings from the teacher’s union and support staff union contracts and non-personnel cuts has helped turn a into about a $600,000 surplus for the 2012 fiscal year.

But Supt. John Harper said it is difficult to sustain non-personnel cuts for an extended period of time.

He asked the board to give the district administration direction on how to proceed with the anticipated $3.2 million fiscal year 2013 deficit so they will know if programs or personnel will be cut to balance the budget.

Salaries and benefits make up about 79 percent of the district’s budget. Health insurance is projected to increase 10 percent each year and dental insurance is expected to increase by 5 percent per year.

According to the PMA report, the district is anticipating fiscal year 2014 to be about $630,000 in the red. The district is likely to have a $1.4 million operating fund deficit by fiscal year 2015, a $4 million deficit by fiscal year 2016 and a $5.5 million deficit by fiscal year 2017.

The district is likely to be in the state’s financial watch list -- the worst of four indictors of financial stability -- from 2014 through 2017.

PMA senior financial advisor Scott Smith said the district has a better outlook than it did in the fall, but nonetheless, budget deficits loom.

Tax Payer January 24, 2012 at 05:06 PM
Jay- The board and the administration are asleep at the wheel.
Concerned Parent February 15, 2012 at 05:49 PM
I think we really need to take a look at every non teacher position and see if it is really necessary to have them and how we can we change something and still make it work. We have more nonteaching misc. Adminintration employees than other districts that are just as large as us. Maybe we should be branching out to them and see how they make it work. We are top heavy. Do we really need some of these employees. I am afraid some of these positions were created because times were good, we had money and to make others lives easier. Nows the time we demand the best from everyone if they want a job. Time to bring your A game - your either in or out.
Concerned Parent February 15, 2012 at 05:53 PM
You have to realize that some money can't be switched from one fund to another. We have money that is specificially designated to building and operations funds from our tax dollars and we can't use is for employee compensation. It's not just one big bank account and we can use and distribute it how we want. Certain money we receive has to be used just for that purpose.
Miguel Sanchez February 15, 2012 at 07:47 PM
Are district employees required to live within the district they serve?
Vera February 16, 2012 at 04:37 PM
Only the superintendent


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