~ Budget planning: $11 million reduction needed over next two years ~
Original Reduction Proposal (1-29-13) | Revised Reduction Proposal (2-19-13) |
Revised Reduction Proposal/Superintendent Recommendation (2-27-13) |
Final Reduction Recommendation Approved by School Board (3-5-13) |
Osseo Area Schools is in the process of identifying approximately $11 million in expense reductions that will be required over the next two years (2013-2014 and 2014-2015 school years). Budget Timeline
The reduction amount is slightly less than previously estimated due to recent changes in two financial projections, both of which are critical factors in financial planning:
- The December 2012 enrollment analysis, on which revenue projections are based, confirmed that the district's enrollment decline is slowing and that actual enrollment is higher than projected, resulting in about $1 million more revenue over the next two years than previously estimated; and
- The Fiscal Year 2012 audit (completed in November) confirmed the success of aggressive cost containment strategies applied last year. Continuing similar strategies will reduce previously estimated expenditures by $2 million over the next two years.
Budget projections also assume a 0% increase in state and local revenue, and the repayment of funds borrowed from Minnesota schools in order to balance the state's budget.
Over the past five years, state aid has increased by less than 1% per year. An operating levy (approved by voters in 2007) provides additional local support, but the combination of state and local dollars is not keeping up with the increasing costs of serving the school district's 20,500 students. In November 2012, the district sought additional funding from local property taxpayers, but the request was not approved.
Education is a "people-intensive" business. Approximately 85% of the general fund budget in the Osseo Area Schools budget pays for people (salaries and benefits). As part of its expense reductions, the district will need to reduce staff, academic/extracurricular programs, and services. For illustration purposes, a reduction of $11 million would involve laying off about 160 full-time employees. Making reductions will be difficult because they will negatively affect students, families, and staff.
In December, the Board directed administration to prepare four levels of reductions that will provide flexibility in decision making. The reduction targets are based on current projections for revenue and expenditures.
- Level 1 = $3.1 million for the 2013-14 school year.
- Levels 2 & 3 = $1 million each that may be taken in 2013-14 or 2014-15
- Level 4 = $6.1 for the 2014-15 school year
Listening to Stakeholders
Between December 19 and January 13, more than 1500 people completed an online survey to provide their perspectives on financial priorities for the school district and ideas for reductions. The full results have been provided to each School Board member, along with a summary of the findings.
You can read the full results (please note that the document is more than 100 pages long and is a very large file) or a summary of the results. When an individual employee or survey respondent could be identified in the comments, redactions were made to comply with data privacy laws. One other redaction was made to remove an offensive word.
Given the number of responses, it is not possible to respond to every comment that reported rumors or inaccurate information. Except for redactions and one specific comment that did require correction, the responses stand exactly as submitted, without correction or clarification.
Feedback on the proposed reductions
The School Board hosted three Community Feedback Forums that featured a presentation about the school district's budget, followed by opportunities for participants to give feedback on the original reduction proposals.
The feedback forums were structured as follows:
- Overview of basic school finance information.
- Review of proposal with four levels of reduction. Through electronic response systems, attendees provided feedback about each level.
- Facilitated breakout group discussions, where a facilitator guided participants through some additional questions to get more detailed feedback.
Forums were held as follows:
- Wednesday, February 6, 6-7:30 p.m.: Maple Grove Senior High Forum Room
- Thursday, February 7, 6-7:30 p.m.: Park Center Senior High Media Center
- Monday, February 11, 6-7:30 p.m.: Osseo Senior High Forum Room
Community members also submitted feedback by emailing comments to WeListen@district279.org. All feedback was shared with School Board members.
Revisions to the original reduction proposal
At work sessions on February 19 and 27, the School Board reviewed administration's recommended revisions to the original reduction proposal. The proposed revisions reflected feedback on the original proposal, along with considerations of what it takes to offer high quality education in an effective and efficient manner. The School Board took final action on March 5.
Original Reduction Proposal (1-29-13)
Revised Reduction Proposal (2-19-13)
Revised Reduction Proposal/Superintendent Recommendation (2-27-13)
Final Reduction Recommendation Approved by School Board (3-5-13)
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