Tonight, our school district had a town meeting to discuss its current budget woes. According to the district, “Despite all of the cost cutting measures and local fundraising efforts undertaken these past few years, the dismal State budget will force the District to identify an additional $7 million in cuts to be implemented over the next two years in order for the District to remain solvent.”
If the main concerns of the district are to maintain historic staffing and class size levels (assuming that the status quo is adequate in our better-than-average district during a recession), attaining such goals can be simple. Based on current salary- and benefit-levels and by optimizing to goals of maintaining classes sizes to at least no larger than the largest average in the past decade and of maintaining non-teacher levels to no lower than the lowest average levels in the past decade, the district could save $3,334,000 per year in salary and benefits by eliminating excess teachers, administrators, and classified staff. This would break down to $2,705,000 in certificated savings and $629,000 in classified savings.
Of course, implementation of such a plan is potentially complicated, but halting the shrinking of class sizes (especially when class size-quality arguments are problematic) and non-teacher staff growth (and reverting to presumably reasonable historic lows) doesn’t seem to be a bad place to begin the conversation.