FY13 Budget Message
Who We Are… And What We Believe
The Sioux FallsSchool Districtis committed to embracing each of its 24,000 students, with various skills and abilities, as individual learners – striving always to find the best means by which “to educate and prepare each student to succeed in our changing world.” This mission statement guides every decision regarding daily instruction, curriculum and long-term planning in the District. This mission statement is at the very core of who we are and what we believe.
We believe in providing multiple pathways for students to find success. These unique pathways break free from the “one-size-fits-all” model that is often associated with education. We believe Sioux Falls students deserve better.
It is that deep commitment to each student that also drives our budgetary considerations. While South Dakota continues its ongoing debate over adequate funding, it is this District’s long history of being fiscally responsible and its effective management of resources that allows us to thrive in spite of minimal increases to the State Aid funding formula.
Proposed FY13 General Fund Budget
Because our community has entrusted us with $7.5 million in opt out dollars, because we continue to identify efficiencies, because we have a rolling 5-year financial plan that cautiously monitors our basis for future needs, and because we are able to continue our planned spend down of our Fund balance from approximately 18% to 8.5%, the District is able to recommend a balanced budget for FY13 - without reductions to existing programs and services and with improvements to meet the most basic needs of our students.
The FY13 per pupil funding increase from the 2012 Legislature is a mere point 8 percent (.8%). However, the District will be receiving a one-time payment in April of this fiscal year as a result of legislative action to support school districts. Because we value each of our nearly 3000 highly-qualified and committed staff members, the District will apply this additional one-time revenue to salaries for an overall 2.3% increase. The net 2.3% increase will be applied to salaries by first, funding movement on the salary schedules, and then applying the remainder to the overall schedules.
This slight increase comes on the heels of last year’s -6.6% reduction from the state, which caused nearly every employee’s salary to decrease – in some cases, significantly. The District recognizes THE most important factor in student achievement is a high quality staff. While the slight increase in FY13 does not begin to pay them as the professionals they are, it does move their pay in a more favorable direction.
The balanced FY13 Budget would not be possible without the work of our dedicated employees and stakeholders who were asked to find additional efficiencies in their already bare-bones budgets. The proposed budget recommends:
eliminating School Board’s NSBA membership;
scaling back part-time summer custodial crews;
reducing Auxiliary Education Assistant’s FTE to match program needs;
eliminating two bus runs;
reducing Superintendent Executive Assistant to 10-month schedule, plus 2 weeks;
decreasing supplies/materials for repair items; and
decreasing $800,000 from utility expenses due to Energy Education Program.
Because the District is efficient, the FY13 Budget Recommendation includes modest enhancements in key areas of need. It replaces funding eliminated by the state for Advanced Placement Test scholarships. It funds a second year of a Physical Education Instructional Coach to support the District’s student wellness initiative; adds one long-requested Building Computer Specialist; implements recommendations from the 2009 Clerical Study; pays for half of one additional behavior classroom; provides FLEX program enhancements and adds one classroom for the Truancy Day program.
At no additional cost to taxpayers, the proposed budget implements the final phase of the Administrative Restructuring plan which removed 9 administrative FTE and adds a Fine Arts Instructional Coach and increases the Student Support Services Administrator to full-time from half time.
Additional revenue/expense adjustments required from the District’s 5-Year Plan to make this plan work include:
· removing $610,000 from General Fund and returning it to Capital Outlay fund one year sooner than law required to provide relief due to drop in assessed valuations;
· decreasing the planned “efficiency factor” from .25% to .1%; (Last year’s Finance Action Network had hoped to remove this completely, as members realized the District is already extremely efficient.)
· holding the District’s combined Capital Outlay and Bond Redemption levies flat at $2.35; and
· increasing the FY12 Fund Balance by $200,000 due to $1.5 million from HB1137 ($70 per student) for FY13 salaries.
Committed to the Process
The FY13 Budget Recommendation process exemplifies an important 21st Century skill we expect students and staff to use as they work together to solve problems: Collaboration. This budget was developed with the help of 47 community people, 104 professional staff members, and 72 administrators, working for a total of 112 committee hours since November 2011. Leadership Team Members spent an additional 1000+ hours calculating, finding efficiencies and preparing explanations. The FY13 Budget provides a lesson in that, through collaboration, multiple minds working toward a common goal can successfully solve complex problems.
The FY13 Budget is an extremely modest plan that protects the very tenets of who this District is and what it believes. It continues providing the highest-quality education possible, so each of our 24,000 students has access to the pathway that allows them to be successful.
It relies heavily upon staff members to be prudent with supplies and resources; always looking for ways to be more efficient with taxpayer dollars. It demands collaboration between the school, parents, business leaders and the broader community. Despite continued funding challenges, the FY13 Budget allows the Sioux FallsSchool Districtto maintain, for another year, the mission that drives us every single day - “to educate and prepare each student to succeed in a changing world.”