South Kitsap School District employees were notified on April 12 of impending layoffs in the district. The Kitsap Sun covered last night’s Q&A with the school board about the district’s budget situation. These are preliminary “worst case” numbers. Retirements, which you will see the district is looking to identify, will help reduce the number of layoffs. Regardless, this is likely to be the biggest RIF for South Kitsap in recent memory.
Here is a (below) is a copy of the letter Interim Superintendent Bev Cheney sent to employees.
Chris Henry, reporter
Begin Cheney letter:
April 12, 2013
TO: All District Staff
FR: Bev Cheney, Interim Superintendent
RE: 2012-13 and 2013-14 Budget Situation
As you may be aware, the District is currently facing some
financial challenges including:
· Decreasing enrollment over the past 10+ years
· The ending fund balance for 2011-12 coming in below projection ($634,000 impact)
· The enrollment shortfall for 2012-13 of 80-100 students ($435,000 – $511,600 impact)
· Projected enrollment decline of 2.5% for most schools for 2013-14
· The exhaustion of local funds we have used to build the “rafts” to sustain programs and positions previously funded by state funds in order to continue to provide high levels of hope and learning for every student.
· Impact of sequestration on federal funds and the local economy
· Increased cost of the provision of special education services beyond what the state funds
· Higher than anticipated fuel and utility costs
· The need to restore the Board’s reserve back to 3% by August 2014 (approx. $436,000)
· The negotiation of five contracts this year
The Board has approved the reduction of its reserve from 3% to 2.5% in order to cover the real and projected expenditures for this year. Because of the ending fund balance for 2011-12 coming in below projection and the enrollment shortfall for 2012-13, we cannot guarantee that even with the reduction of the Board’s reserve to 2.5% that we will be able to cover all of our expenditures and provide 100% building carryover into the 2013-14 school year.
Our budget situation is serious. While we knew that we would be reducing staff due to declining enrollment for 2013-14, we also can no longer continue to fund those positions previously supported by state funds with local funds that have enabled us to achieve great gains in student achievement over these past few years. We have exhausted our ability to create the financial rafts that we have created in the past to support those programs and positions no longer funded by the state and that many districts have already reduced or eliminated. Without these financial rafts, we are now in the situation that other districts faced four years ago.
Consequently, due to the budget issues (between $1.6 and $2.5 million and possibly more depending on the outcome of negotiations and sequestration), we will be staffing classroom positions at all elementary and secondary schools at the preferred level. We will also be eliminating 26.5 FTE previously state funded certificated positions that we have been locally funding. In addition, there will be reductions based on enrollment decline.
However, you must also know that staffing at the preferred level and eliminating the previously state funded 26.5 certificated positions will not meet our goal of reducing our budget by $2.5+ million. Consequently, we will also be reducing classified staff in addition to the classified reductions resulting from enrollment decline.
Your new superintendent, Michelle Reid, upon learning of the budget challenges facing the district, revised the District Office organizational structure in order to realize some budget savings. She has chosen not to fill two administrative (Director of School and Family Support and The Director of Special Programs) and one classified position (Executive Assistant for School and Family Support) at the district office. These positions were vacated due to retirements and a person returning to a previous position.
These reductions in staff still do not solve our budget problem. Consequently, a Leadership Budget Team has been working to identify recommendations for additional reductions to our budget. The work of this group is critical. Unfortunately, we have already used all of the non-personnel options, and so the Leadership Budget Team had to look at positions as they developed their recommendations for addressing the $1.6 to $2.5+ million dollar gap. They have completed their work, and now with input from cabinet I will finalize my recommendations to the Board for $2.5+ million in cuts in order to have a balanced budget for 2013-14.
Since we have exhausted non-personnel options, we will be instituting a Reduction in Force (RIF) this year. In addition to reductions in certificated and classified positions caused by declining enrollment, the positions eliminated in the revised District Office organizational structure, and the reduction of the 26.5 certificated FTE previously mentioned, I will be identifying other certificated and classified positions that may need to be reduced. Consequently, I strongly encourage those who are planning to retire or resign this year to submit their letters/forms to HR by no later than April 30, 2013.
I feel bad being the bearer of this news. It is unfortunate that we can no longer support the great programs that state and federal funds enabled us to implement on behalf of student achievement. I wish I had better news as we have great things happening in this district.
While I tried to include as much information in this email as possible to explain our current budget situation, I know that you may still have many questions. Consequently, I want to invite you to attend a Board Work Study session on the topic of our budget at 6:00pm on Wednesday, April 24, 2013 in the theater at the high school. The Board and I will present information on the budget and then answer questions.