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CCSD59 Budget Balancing Process

December 8, 2017

Article highlights:

  • Distinguishing between costs that are recurring and those that are one-time expenditures
  • In order to balance the budget, the district must reduce the recurring costs to have expenditures match the revenues received each fiscal year
  • Regardless if one-time construction projects had been completed or not, the district would still be working to balance the budget through matching recurring expenses with annual revenues
  • The board of education is working with administration to create a plan that will reduce recurring expenditures by $5 million for the upcoming 2018-19 school year, and then reduce an additional $5 million for the following 2019-20 school year.

CCSD59 is committed to balancing the budget by 2020. The district is currently creating the process and plan to take the actions necessary to reduce expenditures over the next two years to reach a balanced budget and maintain appropriate reserves.

In order to understand the cost savings process, it is important to distinguish between costs that are recurring and those that are one-time expenditures.

A recurring cost is an expenditure that is ongoing and must be accounted for each year. A few examples of recurring costs are transportation, staffing, and facility maintenance.

A one-time expenditure is a cost the district must pay for over a specific time period, and once completed, the cost is finished and does not continue into the future. A few examples of one-time costs are construction, renovations, and supplies.

In order to balance the budget, the district must reduce the recurring costs in order to have expenditures match the revenues received each fiscal year.

Over the past several years, the district has experienced an increase in recurring costs. A portion of the increase is part of an ongoing effort and commitment to support our early learners and provide the best education possible to our students and families. The district increased staffing by nearly 90 full time positions over the past five years. This increase includes the expansion of full time kindergarten to all buildings, the addition of school social workers and psychologists, increased preschool enrollment at the early learning center, support for social emotional learning, assistant principals at all buildings, and additional instructional coaches to support students and staff.

Other increases in recurring costs have resulted from increased costs for student food service and transportation.

While the district has also experienced increases in one-time costs, primarily through construction projects, these one-time costs have been paid for either with general obligation bonds or from the district’s fund balance. Examples include the construction of the new early learning center for $23.2 million which was paid for through a combination of general obligation bonds and the district’s fund balance, the current construction of a new administration building for $17.1 million which will be paid for either through general obligation bonds or the fund balance, and renovations to Devonshire Elementary and Friendship Junior High.

As the one-time cost projects do not recur annually, they are not included in cost savings scenarios to balance the budget as they do not result in compounding costs that must be accounted for year after year. Regardless if the construction projects above had been completed or not, the district would still be working to balance the budget through matching recurring expenses with annual revenues.

At this point, the board of education is working with administration to create a plan that will reduce recurring expenditures by $5 million for the upcoming 2018-19 school year, and then reduce an additional $5 million for the following 2019-20 school year. The board plans to finalize the plan for the 2018-19 cost savings by March 23, 2018. Discussions will continue to take place over the coming months to prioritize cost savings in a manner that results in the least impact on students and their learning. This approach places a priority on making operational cost savings, such as the transportation contract renegotiation currently being explored.

More information about the budget reduction process and plans will be shared as the board completes the planning process in the months ahead.

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