This memo is to provide clarification regarding the recent budget cut recommendation and layoff information that was provided to staff earlier this week.  

How is (NAME OF ISD) funded?

(NAME OF ISD) operates from two budgets, the Special Education budget and the General Education budget. Dollars that fund these budgets come from five major sources:

  • Millages-General and Special Education Funds from annual authorized local property tax millages which funds instructional and administrative support for districts, Special Education administration, educational consulting services and center programs (The combined millage rate for (YEAR) was XXXX)
  • State Aid
  • Federal Aid
  • Grants (NAME OF ISD serves as the fiscal agent for many of the grants that fund ongoing and pilot projects for the benefit of county students)
  • Interdistrict revenue

Every year, (NAME OF ISD) returns dollars to area public schools to reimburse a portion of their special education expenditures from the prior year. The dollars derive from two sources, Excess Fund Equity And Act 18. Excess Fund Equity is Special Education revenue received that is greater than XX percent of NAME OF ISD projected annual expenditures, excluding designated funds. Act 18 funds generates dollars levied through a NAME OF ISD Special Education millage.   

What cuts has the Board recommended to be approved at their (DATE) Board of Education hearing?

The proposed (NAME OF ISD) Special Education Budget for the 2009-10 school year includes an estimated $32 million in revenue and estimated expenditures of $32 million.  These expenditures decreased by $1.65 million from the 2008-09 budget.  Dollars were cut in order to increase (NAME OF ISD)s fund equity in an effort to maximize the reimbursement local districts receive to offset their special education costs.   

The proposed (NAME OF ISD) General Fund Budget for the XXXX school year includes an estimated $XXX million in revenue and estimated expenditures of $XXXX million. The difference includes anticipated revenue from the Local Revenue Sharing Board.  

It is also being recommended that a pay freeze be enacted for the upcoming fiscal year for all (NAME OF ISD) employees.

The Public Hearing will take place DATE/TIME).

Why are there budget cuts when there appears to be a surplus in the General Education budget?

The spending cut, which will include a reduction in staff, is a result of decreased state aid, cuts in grant funding and increased costs.  

Also, for the past year, (NAME OF ISD) chose to use a portion of its fund equity to operate its programs and services, but now with the state’s poor economic outlook, (NAME OF ISD) felt compelled to build back up its fund equity. Therefore, in an attempt to replenish savings and to prepare the organization for economic uncertainties ahead, it was necessary to make cuts.

What does this mean relative to staff employment for the next budget year?

Job security is at the forefront of everyone’s mind. The cuts, while most difficult to implement, allow (NAME OF ISD) to restore its fund equity (or savings account) so that should our funding be reduced again, we can continue to operate. This was proactive and fiscally responsible measure.  It is not anticipated that any additional staff reductions will have to be made during the XXXX school year.

Positions that were approved to be cut:

General Education:  Five consultants and four secretaries

Special Education:  Four teaching positions, a psychologist and occupational therapist 

Layoffs will be effective (DATE)  for those individuals in the General Education budget. Special Education staff will not face layoffs as positions were eliminated through attrition and the non-hiring of vacant positions.

What will this mean in regard to the services (NAME OF ISD) provides to local districts?

(NAME OF ISD) will continue to provide services and programs to local districts, including curriculum support. The only change school districts will notice is the delivery method in which those services are provided.  

What changes will I have to make in my role at (NAME OF ISD)?

Staff members will notice changes in the amount of travel that is authorized for workshops and conferences as well as a decrease in the amount of supplies they are able to purchase.  In order to meet the needs of local districts, staff members may be asked to be creative in providing new delivery methods when providing services. Staff may also be asked to work collaboratively with coworkers across departments to solicit talent, expertise and suggestions when developing /implementing these new delivery methods.

How should questions from the media be addressed?

As always, it the (NAME OF ISD) policy that all questions from the media be handled through the superintendent’s office.

How should I respond to questions from local district staff, parents and students?

Honesty is the best policy. (NAME OF ISD) is committed to providing the best educational services to our constituents as possible.  Unfortunately, due to the current economic conditions, (NAME OF ISD)’s funding stream was reduced, impairing our ability to provide services using traditional delivery methods.  (NAME OF ISD) is now reinventing or “re-imaging” how all our services are being provided to local districts in a manner that  is more cost-effective.  This may include hiring consultants to assist with curricular needs, using technology to supplement activities and to reevaluate the services that local districts find to be of value. 

What can we expect in the future?

Although we cannot predict what the Legislature will ask of us in the future relative to funding, we fully expect that the proactive measures we have enacted will provide enough savings to allow us to weather storm.  It is our hope that over the next school year we will improve our service delivery methods so that they are the best in the state, meet the needs of our constituents and fully replenish our fund equity coffers.

On behalf of the (NAME OF ISD) Board of Education, we appreciate your understanding during this time of restructuring.