Board Approves Budget Plan for 2016-2017

posted May 16, 2016, 4:09 PM by District Webmaster   [ updated May 16, 2016, 4:11 PM ]

At the May 16, 2016 meeting of the Bartlesville Board of Education, the board approved a district budget plan for 2016-2017. The district will be making $1.9 million in cuts, anticipating a loss in state funding and attempting to begin rebuilding the district's fund balance, which has been eroded by state revenue failures and other funding cuts.

Chuck McCauley, who will become superintendent in July, pointed out that if state funding continues to decline beyond current projections, the district will be forced to make "drastic cuts" that would further increase class sizes and force the district to consider eliminating various programs. Should state funding for 2016-2017 come out higher than current projections, he recommended that the approved cuts still occur in order to rebuild the district's fund balance to help it weather possible future revenue failures.

The budget cuts were refined since they were first presented to the board in April to this final form:

Approved Cuts

  • Over $1.61 million in personnel cuts, including:
    • $993,000 reduction of 21 teaching positions, about 5% of the teaching staff
    • $292,000 reduction of 3 central office administrators, which is over 20% of that staff
    • $169,000 reduction of 5 administrative support positions at the Education Service Center & Will Rogers Complex as part of an administrative re-organization
    • $66,000 reduction of elementary school PRESS reading assistants
    • $88,000 reduction of 2 custodians and 2 bus drivers
  • $374,000 saved by not adopting new textbooks for English/Language Arts or Foreign Language
    • Some worn-out novels would be replaced using earmarked bond issue funding
    • There will be a Chromebook pilot project in English classes in grades 10-12, funded by bond issue funding already earmarked for technology; the plan is for a future multi-year rollout of a 1:1 student technology initiative using bond funds to help migrate from physical textbooks to digital resources, including free open source materials
  • $29,000 reduction in athletics funding
    • Elimination of slow-pitch softball, which was added in 2013-2014
    • Reduction of some assistant coaches
    • Reduction of transportation costs via scheduling
  • $19,000 reduction in music funding
    • Reduction of transportation costs by not sending the band to at least some out-of-town football games
    • Reduction of other miscellaneous costs
  • $10,000 savings by opening Central
    • Reduction in fuel costs by no longer bussing students to old Madison upon the opening of the renovated Central campus

Step Increases Funded

To help retain staff, the budget proposal funds the district's usual step increases at a net projected cost of $141,000. This includes adding a Step 28 to the district's salary schedule, noting that its peer districts' schedules average 33 steps. The average teacher advancing on the salary schedule would receive a 1.2% increase in pay; administrative increases are pegged to that percentage but then prorated for additional days worked. The proposal includes the district's usual 18 cents/hour increase for classified staff. Step increases are vital in retaining qualified staff in an era in which the district is sometimes unable to find certified teachers to fill vacant positions.