Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Budget Shortfall 3/8/11

I presented my budget reduction list to the Board tonight. Now they will decide how much of the fund balance to use and if there are more reductions to be made. Please continue to think outside the box. Don't waste your time lobbying for positions. All positions are important. Think of other ways to reduce the budget or increase revenue. Thank you to all and congrats to the SCA!
Karen

14 comments:

  1. Here is an "outside the box" idea to raise revenue. I would match $1 to the average number of dollars contributed by School Board Commissioners up to a specified amount. So if the nine commissioners donate money to the school district out of their personal finances ranging in amounts from $200 to $2000, and the mean average came to $1050 / commissioner, I would donate $1050 to the district. Combined we would have contributed a total of $10,500. Perhaps businesses would provide matching amounts as well. There might be additional teachers and or citizens who would also contribute. I think a fund raiser for the schools with the Board Commissioners leading the way would have a very positive influence in our community as well as encourage our de-moralized staff.

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  2. I have been receiving a number of ideas and suggestions from employees, so I am posting at least some of them that I think might work. Please feel free to respond. I hope some of these ideas will spark other ideas.

    As a result of the last Board meeting we now know we can not raise taxes and the Board is exploring use of the Fund Balance. I am researching other districts and how they have used their fund balance over the years. Keith is looking into the rules of having a referendum to raise money. As it stands now, I need to look for another 2.3 million dollars in reductions! It is a daunting task, but working together I believe we will accomplish it and keep as much of what makes us uniquely the SDJ as we possibly can. We do have to think much differently then we ever have before.

    From Christine:
    I have a suggestion that you may want to consider regarding the Library Media Specialists. I've been trying to think of ways that we as Media Specialists can help with the funding crisis we are in. I know that the budget is something that is not going away. We need to be creative to think of ways to continue our excellent tradition of having a strong Library Media Program. This year we have had Librarians from the country of Denmark, city of Pewaukee, and are scheduled for staff from DPI to visit and see how they can replicate our excellent Library Media Programs at their schools. I'm trying to come up with ways to still help the students and staff, but be innovative on our approach. Here's one of my ideas:

    Since I have been a Library Media Specialist at both the elementary and high school level here in Janesville, I know the library media program at both of those levels. I envision a Library Media Specialist who is in charge of both a high school and one of it's feeder elementary schools. If this were the case, I can see many ways in which the LMS could create a collaboration by having high school students help out at the elementary school. Many high school students are service aides for the LMC, teachers, and different areas of the school. We could offer the students to become aides at an elementary school for credit. They could help with numerous projects. The students could help read to classes, assist students with technology, help shelve books, research and give recommendations of what books to order for the elementary school, participate in literature circles, help with reading motivations and etc... The sky could be the limit.

    The Library Media Specialist would be the connection between the high school student aide/aides and the elementary school needs. The high school students would learn a great deal from this opportunity and the bonus being credit. This may also help alleviate the high numbers of students in some classes and offer them another choice for classes.


    Another idea is to offer high school students to volunteer at the elementary school after school. Many high school students look for service hours and what better way than to volunteer at a neighboring school. I know that they can do this now, but the LMS could help coordinate this and have the students help alleviate some of the work that needs to be done at the elementary level.

    Please let me know if you have questions and what you think about this.

    Thanks for encouraging us to give you suggestions as you stated during the school board meeting.

    Sincerely,

    Christine
    Library Media Specialist/Co-Webmaster @ Craig High School (608-743-5219)

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  3. Kathy BoguszewskiMarch 12, 2011 at 7:52 AM

    In the Lenten Spirit --- As an administrator - and non-represented employee - I would challenge us all to give one day's pay (voluntary furlough) each semester (each quarter would be even better) to a fund that would save the key jobs that are impacting students. The support staff in our buildings partner with teachers to prepare our students to be successful today and in their future. With increased class sizes we need the support staff more than ever. I would challenge the community to do the same. All of us still fortunate to have a job need to step up to the plate. We are in this together.

    My question is -- what would we name this fund? How can we sustain this fund. I will write a check today.

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  4. Kathy BoguszewskiMarch 12, 2011 at 8:06 AM

    Great idea Christine. Talk about "Necessity is the Mother of Invention" This is a win for our students - in many ways.

    Libraries are labor intensive. Books need to be shelved and processed. They could even help process materials for the libraries at the ESC. We had a youth apprenticeship girl process materials last year at the ESC.

    I have also seen students tutoring senior citizens in our school labs. Classes could be offered right after school for the senior citizens. They could be offered in neighborhood schools. "Seniors guiding Seniors" The senior citizens, who vote, learn about the many free Internet tools so they can communicate with family and friends. The senior citizens are welcomed into our schools and they see how wonderfully the students treat them. They see how schools are preparing their grandchildren

    Very innovative. Win for students and win for tax payers.

    I have seen students also do custodial work. When we were visiting in FonduLac School District I talked with a junior who cleaned the high school. He said he wanted to work his way through college and with having custodial experience he planned to get a custodial job on campus.

    We could hire high school students for summer cleaning of computers and classrooms which would save dollars.

    We could also have students in all schools take time to pick up, recycle, clean boards, take trash to dumpster which would cut down on custodial time.

    Our students are very capable. Middle School students are hired by companies to de-tassle corn in the summer. We could follow the same model.

    Thank you Christine for getting my mind perking as well.

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  5. I am going to look into setting up a seperate savings account at EECU so they will take money out per check and then donate that to the district. A per check donation idea is the best for me.

    As far as having students do work for cleaning and other custodial work, the district can save huge money on that. As an employability skills teacher I would love to coordinate an after school work program for students to get paid to clean the school. Custodians are very short handed at our school and they could pick up the unmet needs of our school/school district.

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  6. There are rules and regs about minors using the chemicals that custodians use. This was tried at Rock River Charter several years ago and we couldn't continue. I do believe it bears looking into and finding out exactly what students can do.

    Also we can do a payroll deduction through the district as well, I believe.

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  7. Many ideas...some we already use, some a little crazy...view the list and let's see how we can save money. This came from another school district. If you have a hard time reading the suggestions below, let me know and I will send it to you in a word doc.

    CLASSROOM COSTS
    • REPLACEMENT OF WHITE BOARDS
    Instead of purchasing new, costly dry erase boards, simply remove marker tray
    from the bottom of the aluminum frame of the old board and you can then slide
    the old board out of the frame.
    Then purchase “shower” board from your local Lowe’s, Home Depot, etc. and
    simply slide the replacement back into the frame and reattach the marker tray.
    Boards look like “store bought” again. We’ve found that the “store bought” white
    board frames are significantly thinner) so we just use the new surface until it
    needs replacement because we always have a spare right behind the reusable
    surface.
    Marlite is one brand that can be used at $11- $15 per 4 x 8 sheet vs. $150 per
    preassembled board bought from a commercial supplier.
    • KINDERGARTEN KIDS NAMES ON CARPET
    When teachers put tape (almost any tape) with their students names on the carpet
    to indicate where they would like their students to sit, stay, etc. the tape will leave
    dirty glue stains and marks on the carpet. We’ve found that you can purchase
    Velcro strips (non-glue back and non-self adhesive) from a sewing center or cloth
    store, cut them into 2” or 3” strips and simply write the students name on the back
    of the “hook part” and stick the strip on the carpet. You can purchase large rolls
    of this without having to buy both parts (which you will not need). These strips
    can be vacuumed right over daily and will still stay in place. However, anyone
    can easily pull the strips off the carpet and relocate them at anytime without ever
    having the glue mess on the carpets.
    PLANT COSTS
    • LIGHTING RETROFIT
    Install energy efficient lighting. Plan ahead and implement during summer.
    Replace incandescent lights with fluorescent fixtures and old ballasts with
    efficient electronic ballasts.
    Replace old fluorescent lamps with T-8 lamps. This reduces the electricity usage by
    almost 50 percent while actually increasing the quality of the light. Install occupancy
    sensors in all rooms. This will save an additional 30 percent.
    Do a thorough inventory of fixtures, lamps, and ballasts so that the replacement
    plan is complete.
    In some instances, the more efficient new fixtures may reduce the number of
    fixtures/lamps needed.
    Local utility companies often have rebate programs to help defray installation
    costs.

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  8. and more....

    • TRASH REMOVAL
    Competitive Pricing:
    Put your trash removal out to bid, especially if you have been with one company
    for a number of years.
    Investigate customer satisfaction with all potential bidders.
    Require a two- or three-year fixed fee schedule to eliminate a one year low bid
    followed by a sizable increase the second or third year.
    Many multi-year contracts have automatic renewal clauses. Watch these terms
    very carefully. Some companies may waive this existing clause if they know
    holding to it will result in their loss of the contract upon its expiration.
    Removal:
    If use of your campus is substantially less during the summer or vacation periods,
    see if your trash hauler will reduce your monthly rate to reflect the reduction in
    the number of pickups needed.
    Have your monthly fee broken down by the amount charged for each container
    per pickup. This information will help determine the appropriate summer and
    vacation period fee.
    • AIR CONDITIONING CONTROLS
    Install 0-12 hour timers to automatically cut off A/C units. They can be set up to
    12 hours and will eliminate forgetting to turn unit ON/OFF. Timer cost is about
    $10 - $15 with installation at $85 (or less).
    Timers are easier to use than set-back thermostats.
    • REFRIGERATION CONTROLS
    An alarm system to monitor proper temperatures can be installed in walk-ins and
    freezers plus heavy plastic curtains to keep the cold in. This setup helps maintain
    proper temperatures and keep maintenance/fuel costs down.
    • LIGHT SENSOR SWITCHES IN CLASSROOMS – TURNS LIGHTS OFF
    WHEN CLASSROOM IS EMPTY AFTER 20 MINUTES.
    • SLOW STARTING OVERHEAD GYMNASIUM LIGHTING.
    Install ONE on/off switch for ONE or TWO regular overhead light bulbs,
    supplementary to the low sodium variety. This way, if gym teachers need to
    pop into the gym to get something, they can turn on one switch, get a “bit” of
    light to see what they are doing, and not have to wait five minutes for lights to
    get “on” before turning them off again.
    • ENERGY AUDITS
    Have an audit conducted for energy-saving measures such as solar power, etc.
    Many states have programs to fund or help fund energy audits of campus
    buildings. In addition, some states have grant money to support energy
    conservation renovations made in response to energy audits.
    Contact state agencies and start ASAP. State funding may be limited during a
    given fiscal year.
    • WELLS USED FOR IRRIGATION
    Install an irrigation system and use wells on campus to supply the water for
    athletic fields, lawns, etc. In times of drought you may want to put up a sign that
    reads “Well water in use”.
    Can cut use of town water by 50 percent.
    Project can be done slowly over a span of years.
    • SEWER SAVINGS
    Check your water/sewer bill if you are using the city water for watering your
    athletic fields, etc. Normally you are billed the same amount for sewer as you are
    charged for water used, but if you are watering your athletic fields, etc. with city
    water, it’s obvious that this water is not going back through the city’s sewage
    system. Call your local water department and arrange to have a separate meter for
    water being used to water fields, grounds, etc.
    Contact your sewer/utility company and discuss their policies and any special
    meter requirements they may have.
    • NATURAL GAS SAVINGS
    If sufficient natural gas is used, purchase it through a marketing firm, an energy
    pool, or where location permits, directly from the wellhead instead of from your
    local utility. Pay $3/MCF vs. $4.75 - $5.00/MCF.
    Gas rates chart like a roller coaster. A little attention here can save you dollars.
    Look at how you are billed. For example, an approximate savings of $175 a
    month was made by changing meters when demand dropped to a level allowing
    the use of a smaller meter.

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  9. And more...
    ELECTRICAL SAVINGS
    Negotiate with your electrical utility to consolidate all campus electric meter
    readings so that total usage qualifies for a lower KWH rate.
    Opportunities to save on HVAC management or changing fluorescent to T-8
    electronic ballast technology abound.
    Electrical cost saving -- Check with your power company to see if they offer any
    savings programs.
    • SEAL AROUND WINDOWS THAT DO NOT OPEN
    • REVIEW OF UTILITY RATE
    A number of companies will audit past utility bills to check that you have not
    been overcharged. They will typically retain 50 percent of the refunds they secure
    on your behalf. The school retains the other 50 percent. These companies are
    confident enough of a refund to provide this service on a contingency basis.
    While no one likes to give up 50 percent of any refund, most likely none of this
    refund money would ever be received without their help and expertise.
    If a school has been charged the wrong rate in the past, it will receive not only a
    refund but the correct rate will be applied in the future.
    • .PLANNING CONSTRUCTION COSTS AHEAD OF TIME
    Plan your construction projects far enough in advance that you can make
    opportunities known to your parents’ and friends’ communities to get gifts-inkind
    or offers of discount work by licensed technicians. A little planning can save
    big dollars.
    • DON’T BUILD A SCHOOL AROUND TEACHERS HAVING THEIR
    OWN CLASSROOM – BUILD EFFICIENT TEACHER OFFICES (85SF).
    MAKE YOUR USE OF THE BUILDINGS MUCH MORE EFFICIENT.
    • PLACE RECYCLING DUMPSTERS ON CAMPUS – SAVES WASTE
    GOING TO THE DUMPSTER AND YOU GET PAID FOR RECYCLING.
    • LOOK INTO OIL, GAS PETROL, UTILITIES (WATER, ELECTRICITY)
    BUYING INITIATIVES AND COOPS. BUS BUYING E.G. MICRO BIDS –
    ORDER 100 FOR MANY SCHOOLS INSTEAD OF ONE OR TWO FOR
    ONE SCHOOL. FORM A CO-OP WITH LOCAL SCHOOLS FOR
    PURCHASING POWER.
    • PURCHASING A FACILITY/ENERGY MANAGEMENT SYSTEM
    This adaptable software allows you to create set points on each thermostat,
    control times when the system is operational while expensive. Payback can occur
    over a one- to three-year period.
    • CONSIDER THE USE OF A SECURITY CAMERA, REAL OR FAKE, TO
    DISCOURAGE VANDALISM, THEFT, ETC.
    PURCHASING
    • CENTRALIZE PURCHASING
    Have one person in charge of purchasing all instructional and office supplies.
    Janitorial supplies should also be ordered through one person.
    Centralizing the ordering of materials helps eliminate waste and duplication.
    Centralization often results in purchases being made by experienced buyers who
    know which suppliers provide the best value.
    Volume discounts are more likely.
    • PURCHASING DISCOUNTS
    Contact your local public school and purchase with them.
    Contact frequently used suppliers and request state/city/county pricing on items
    you purchase.
    Negotiate discounts, fleet prices, volume discounts on everything you purchase.
    Even if state/city/local contract pricing is not available to you, knowing these
    prices can help you in your negotiations.
    Check your parent list to see if any of them manufacture or distribute items you
    use. Their price to you may be at cost or close to it.
    • LARGE EQUIPMENT PURCHASE
    Buy heavy equipment, used, at auction or bank sales. We were able to acquire
    several valuable pieces of equipment in good to excellent condition for a fraction
    of what it would cost new (20 – 30 percent). Specialty pieces (lifts, tractors,
    boom trucks, zambonies) can be acquired and save huge numbers of man-hours
    (and improve safety) long before budget limitation would allow purchasing new
    equipment.
    Make sure you have someone who knows equipment at the auction so he or she can
    check out each item on-the-spot (they don’t allow you to “return for credit”!).
    • MAINTENANCE AGREEMENTS
    Discontinue non-critical maintenance agreements. Consider lower times of use rates.
    Save the built in profits plus contingency funds that are included in the cost of
    typical maintenance agreements.
    Take faxes, typewriters off service contracts. If one breaks it is cheaper to buy a new
    one.

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  10. Kathy BoguszewskiMarch 13, 2011 at 1:04 PM

    On the subject of students -- I heard that we have a club at Craig called Future Educators. I did not realize that!! Do we have similar clubs at other schools? Could we? I was in Future Teachers in elementary, middle, and high school. I did all kinds of activties that honed my future career. The teachers appreciated my work also. What better way to mentor. Maybe the old ways are still viable today.

    Also in the area of chemicals and students. Begs the question what kind of chemicals are we using that a minor cannot use them? Can we look at eco friendly cleaning? Vinegar and water perhaps? Plain water. I used plain water to clean blackboards as a teacher's helper. Could be a money saver. What are we paying for these chemicals?

    Maybe this is the time to reflect back on what was good about the practices from days gone by.

    Our environment is crying for us to stop and think what we are putting into the sewer system which flows to the creeks, rivers, etc etc.

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  11. Hey Karen,

    So the other day I was driving by Fort Atkinson's HS. They have several of those wind field turbines on their property (which I believe you actually get money if you have them on your land, I think) and also solar panels have been installed on their roof. It might be worth contacting them and seeing if these sorts of things could save the district some cash, if not bring in revenue.

    Take care and God bless
    Jon

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  12. Hi Karen,
    I just finished teaching a graduate class to all but 1 SDJ teachers. The entire class was done on Google Docs and Google Sites. I never printed 1 sheet of paper. This modeling is going to (hopefully) flow into our teaching strategies in the district, especially in the uppper grade levels. This will save a huge amount of $ for the district. My concern is this, if we do not have staff development to model cost reduction actions, how will staff implement without support? Thanks to our IT department for finding the means to stay "close" to the cutting edge of technology...this is important for engagement of students and the future of SDJ.
    Also, thank you for looking for solutions...we are getting to that excellence, even through tough times.

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  13. My idea is to create a JSD-Bay. I envision a website structured like ebay/craigslist and linked to a paypal account that could receive online payment. Community members & businesses could post items and services for sale (donations) on the site with a picture of the item and an item description. Community members could buy the item and pay the district directly (paypal or a similar method). The district would notify the vendor that the item has sold and to ship/ arrange pick up for the item. The donations would be tax deductible for the vendors. Evelyn Galindo

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  14. In my previous district, to offset the rising cost of energy, the district asked teachers with refrigerators in their classrooms which were used for personal use to pay $35 per year for energy costs. With the rising costs since then (about 5 years ago), I would suggest making it $50 per year. This would not apply toward staff who have to have refrigerators in their classrooms to meet the needs of their students.

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