Message from Dr. Quinn Regarding Budget Cuts

posted Mar 11, 2016, 6:02 PM by District Webmaster   [ updated Mar 11, 2016, 6:05 PM ]

Dear BPSD Parents, Teachers and Community Members,

As you are aware, school districts in our great state have taken an alarming cut in funding. At this point, even after the recent addition of rainy day fund monies, the Bartlesville Public School District has lost $450,000 from its previously approved and committed 2015-16 budget. The cuts would have been nearly $700,000 had our number of students not increased by 119 students this year. Unfortunately, future cuts are still possible before the end of this fiscal year and next year’s outlook is even worse with projected cuts totaling an additional $1.8 million.

As we move forward, it is obvious that we will have to make significant changes for the 2016-2017 school year. Like many other school districts in the state, Bartlesville has worked through cuts in recent years with an eye toward maintaining low class sizes and minimizing the impact on our students. The remaining options include larger class sizes, ceasing or cutting back the provision of transportation services for our students, and further reducing administrative costs. For reference:   

  • Reducing administrative costs is a popular request. However, our entire staff at the Education Service Center makes up less than 4% of our budget and the salary and benefit cost of the entire staff is just over $1.3 million per year. 
  • We spend approximately $1.1 million a year running buses for our students which is $950,000 more than the state gives us to provide this service. 
  • Covering a $2 million reduction by cutting teachers would require the reduction of 42 positions which is nearly 10% of this year’s staff. Clearly this is not a road we want to go down.
Although not to this level, BPS and Oklahoma public schools have been through this same process every year since 2008. State money for Bartlesville Public Schools this year is nearly one million dollars lower than it was in 2012 and we have 215 more students. That is a growth of more than one half of an entire Bruin graduating class. I include this information simply to tell you that all reasonable savings have already been identified and cut. The allegations about school maintaining rainy day funds or bloated fund balances are false. This year we were less than one month’s payroll away from running our general fund into the red. 

Without other alternatives, these cuts will result in larger class sizes and reduced levels of service to our students.

It is a grim picture that I have just painted, but it is, unfortunately, our reality. We want to make you aware of the situation, as the impact will be felt in every classroom within our district. We also want to enlist your support to address this situation by becoming involved in the legislative process and let your opinions be known to those who represent us. Solutions are available but they involve difficult decisions by our legislators who need to know what you think. 

Despite these circumstances, we will continue to provide an exceptional experience for our students and do everything possible to maximize their levels of achievement. Bartlesville Public Schools has a future that is every bit as bright as its rich history.

Sincerely,

Dr. Gary W. Quinn

Dr. Gary Quinn