A second round of budget cuts in Parkway
Susie Watsonon January 29, 2013 at 9:46 am
In addition to the $8 million Parkway School District cut from the budget in 2012, an additional $2-4 million will be cut in the 2013-2014 school year.
“Initially, we knew that this was a two year process,” Parkway’s Board of Education President Beth Feldman said. “The cuts that were made last year were ones that could be done within a short time framework. The ones that we are considering this year were those that needed a longer process to consider.”
Parkway revenues were less in recent years and the district was forced to use reserves to balance the budget. These intended cuts will ensure the future budgets are balanced and restore the fund balance to required levels.
“The budget cuts were not decided by one person,” Budget Committee Member and Math Teacher Aaron Hickman said. “Different Parkway employees including administrators, secretaries and teachers were chosen at random and we discussed the budget cuts in a group dynamic setting.”
These cuts required more decision time. One of the cuts includes the reduction of the textbook matrix budget. Ultimately, that means Parkway will extend the life of a textbook 1-2 years. Students may also the option to view textbooks online. However, students will have to provide their own technology to utilize this option.
“Fourteen thousand computers for each student is not a reality,” Superintendent Dr. Keith Mary said. “This is why we developed Campus Technology Access (CTA), which allows students to use their devices under Parkway’s WIFI.”
Another cut includes the elimination of three middle school math facilitator positions.
“Math teachers are math certified and the instructional coaches help in all departments,” Marty said. “The math facilitator position and role could be played by the instructional coaching position, which was established last year at all elementary and middle schools.”
After the budget cuts of the 2013-2014 school year, about 170 Parkway staff positions will be eliminated.
“Luckily, we will not be laying off anyone, rather these cuts will be done through attrition,” Feldman said.
The budget cuts are affecting the taxpayers minimally. The tax increased an amount of $123.50 for every $250,000 home in the district. If the price of the home was doubled that amount, so was the tax.
“The taxes are needed to run the schools and we only receive 5% of money from the state because we are considered a wealthy region,” Marty said. “We don’t want to lose the trust of the public, but we need to make sure the district is in a good place financially.”
At the beginning of the 2012-2013 school year, Parkway raised the salaries of administrators and a $7,000 raise for Marty.
“We need to maintain a strong workforce. We look for the best teachers and administrators and they look for the most appealing schools,” Marty said. “Salaries are a huge factor. When they sign contracts with Parkway, salary increases are already negotiated.”
The assumption and miscommunication of the budget cuts along with the salary raises left Parkway School District in the spotlight in the media.
“Once this project is done and over with, Parkway will be back on track and in good shape financially,” Marty said.
The line that represents the fund balance in the fall of 2011 was estimated to continually decrease.
“If we kept spending money the way we were, the district would have gone bankrupt,” Marty said.
The line that represents the fund balance in the summer of 2011 was estimated to decrease. However, Parkway performed their first round of budget cuts in the Fall of 2011. The result of the 2012 budget cuts are represented by the green line.
“We are doing the second round of budget cuts to match the present fund balance to the 17.3% goal,” Marty said.
Parkway’s goal is to math the present fund balance to the 17.3% goal.
“Once we get the fund balance where we need it to be [on the pink line], Parkway’s financial situation will be stabilized,” Marty said.