By the numbers: 79 percent of Ann Arbor schools' cuts are staff reductions
Danielle Arndt | AnnArbor.com
Nearly 79 percent of the approximately $6.88 million in cuts to the Ann Arbor Public Schools' budget for fiscal year 2014 came in the form of staff reductions, a review of the numbers shows.
The Ann Arbor Board of Education approved its budget — complete with a budget reduction plan — at about 2 a.m. Thursday, at the end of a seven-hour meeting.
The AAPS was facing an $8.7 million budget shortfall for the upcoming school year, which it took care of Thursday when the board passed a number of reductions and revenue enhancements, and approved using $1.18 million from the district's fund equity or primary savings account.
Employee positions accounted for about $5.43 million of the reductions approved, with $3.5 million (or 50.9 percent of the cuts) coming from a loss of teaching positions.
Here's a by-the-numbers list of all the items school board members approved as part of their budget reduction plan to balance the 2013-14 general fund budget. The budget was developed using a projected blended student count of 16,699 students for the 2013-14 academic year.
But first, one program that the board agreed to cut Thursday that does not fit into any of the categories below was the tuition preschools at Allen and Thurston elementaries. These programs are not financed by the general fund, but operating them has had significant implications on general fund money since their inception in 2006.
The tuition preschools are run and paid for by the Community Education & Recreation Department, which projected that due to their under-enrollment issues, the preschools would be operating on a nearly $66,000 deficit for the 2013-14 academic year if the program continued.
Rec & Ed officials proposed closing the program earlier this year and began informing families of the possibility in May. Five people attended Wednesday's regular board meeting to plead with school trustees to preserve the preschool program for one more year to give families the time to promote the program through marketing and, ultimately, increase enrollment.
However, AAPS Chief Financial Officer Nancy Hoover informed the board that the deficit the preschool program operates on has to be paid for out of the general fund each year, so the board decided the preschool program had to be cut.
A complete list of budget cuts and revenue enhancements is below.
Instructional services (43 FTE, 36 teachers):
- 27 undesignated teaching positions — $2.7 million
- 3 reading intervention specialists — $300,000
- 3 teachers at Skyline High School, but allow the school to remain on trimesters — $300,000
- 3 counselors — $300,000
- 3 fine arts/physical education teaching positions (through attrition) — $200,000
- 4 office personnel — $180,000
- Shift the 1 theater technician position from the general fund to Pioneer Theater Guild — $50,000
- Reduce noon-hour supervision and shift responsibility to staff (FTE impact unknown) — $71,000
- 6 employee positions and restructuring of work — $477,540
Special education and support services:
- 4 to 4.5 teacher consultants, 2 to 2.5 teacher assistants and 1 speech and language pathologist (total of 7 to 8 FTE) — $125,000
Operations (17 FTE):
- 1 crew chief — $80,000
- 15 custodians — $600,000
- 1 grounds employee — $50,000
Total: $5.43 million (about 74 FTE)
- Eliminate Ann Arbor’s extra half-semester physical education requirement — $400,000
- Reduce transportation for team travel outside of Washtenaw County — $120,000
- Reduce AAPS funding of equipment — $30,000
- Reduce number of middle school club sports from 28 to 23 — $18,989
- Close middle school pools (results in elimination of synchronized swimming and swimming and diving sports teams, as well as Rec & Ed swim classes and P.E. class lessons) — $70,000
- Energy savings — $200,000
- Freeze furniture and fixture purchases for 1 year — $200,000
- Reduce library material purchases — $100,000
- Reduce natural gas purchases — $100,000
- Reduce theater funding at Community, Huron, Pioneer and Skyline (results in one less production per school) — $77,068
- Eliminate discretionary food spending (including $5,000 BOE food) — $70,000
- Reduce conference attendance and travel — $50,000
- Suspend table rentals — $15,000
- Charge students $100 per semester to take a seventh course at Huron and Pioneer — $100,000
- Increase middle school pay-to-participate fees from $50 to $150 per student — $150,000
- Increase high school pay-to-participate fees from $150 for the first sport to $250 per student — $150,000
- Increase ice hockey fees to $600 per player to help cover rink rentals — $36,000
- Increase golf fees to between $225 and $400 per player for tee times — $21,000
The grand total cut from the district's general fund in the budget reduction plan the Board of Education approved early Thursday is $7.34 million. Adding in the $1.18 million from the district's fund balance and the $270,000 in assumed concessions from the Ann Arbor principals, curriculum coordinators and tech support staff unions brings the total reduction to $8.79 million.
The board also approved adding an amount of $80,000 into the general fund budget for some internal auditing of the district's finance, human resources and instruction departments. This expenditure brings the net grand total of adjustments to the district's approximately $182 million operational budget to $8.71 million.
Budget documents provided by the district show the Ann Arbor Public Schools had to budget $2.76 million more than last year to accommodate employee salary step increases and increases to FICA, retirement costs and fringe benefit rates.
While employee reductions made up 79 percent of all the cuts approved to the AAPS budget for 2013-14, employee costs in 2012-13 accounted for 87 percent of the general fund budget, according to documents. Employee salaries were 57 percent of that cost and benefits were the remaining 30 percent.
Teacher salaries and benefits account for 75.77 percent of total employee costs, central administrators account for 1.85 percent, principals and other directors 4.8 percent, supervisors and curriculum coordinators 0.53 percent and other support staff/hourly employees 17.05 percent.