Board Budget Development Committee Report – 10-26-15

The Board Budget committee convened on October 26, 2015 to discuss the 2016-17 budget.

Trustee Reid opened the meeting with introductions and the following:

“Good thing I’ve been saving nickels in my couch cushions” The Grouch, Casper Star Tribune 10/23/15.

As we finished our budget planning a few months ago, we all seemed to be in agreement that it may well be time to tighten our belts. As this year has progresses, we continue to get mixed signals but I firmly believe we do need to show good stewardship and look for places to cut expenses. I believe Superintendent Hopkins will give more insight on that subject.

The Economic Summary for the second quarter of 2015 published from the State Economic Analysis Division reflects a weak global economy driven in large part by China’s deteriorating economy. The U.S. is in recovery (but regions that rely on energy production will continue to be stressed); the recovery has lasted six years and is expected to expand. I take exception to the rosy job growth discussion; workers in energy related jobs were making significant income, they may be able to get a new job but I doubt seriously that the pay is the same. The employment trackers that comment that our job growth is absorbing the unemployed do not follow the level of income lost or gained!

We continue to see good activity in Casper and around the State because of the State’s generous funding of new school buildings. My hope is that over the next couple of years our construction industry will continue to be a bright spot and that those who say energy will become strong again next year are right! Time will tell…in the meantime, keep saving those coins in the couch cushions.”

Superintendent Hopkins introduced a fiscal update and a draft plan for the budget.

Big items driving revenue:

  • Enrollment – number of students is the largest variable in the model. Students equal resources. Enrollment is currently down about 100 students from this time last year. We have not seen a decrease for the past seven years.
  • Recalibration – Every five years, the Legislature is required to assess and adjust, if necessary, each component being funded in the model due to the requirement set by the Wyoming State Supreme Court. They are looking at models that could reduce funding to districts.

Ryan Kelly demonstrated how to follow the school finance Select Committee for School Finance Recalibration on the web. He showed the resources for the group to monitor.

The one document is a memorandum from the Wyoming Legislative Service Office. Find that document here:$file/Recalibration%20Preliminary%20Model%20Element%20Decision%20Matrix.pdf

Superintendent Hopkins wanted the committee to know that we can make the cuts we need by trying to keep the impacts away from students and use attrition to reduce staff.

Superintendent Hopkins then introduced the draft Budget Development Plan to the group. He stressed that typically, this plan was used to distribute additional funds that were available. This year, it will be used to likely find reductions in the budget. The plan is set up like last year’s plan and is as follows:

Budget Development Plan

For the Budget Year 2016 – 2017 (FY 17)

Overview of the Budget Development Process by Phase:

Phase I -­‐ Preparation (September 2015 -­ April 2016) – During this phase the following action steps will be completed:

  • Request and review budget input (Emphasis on suggested budget reduction strategies)
  • Monitor Legislative action impacting funding
  • Presentation of historical financial information for NCSD and the funding of school districts in Wyoming
  • Project 2016-­17 student enrollment
  • Project funding for 2016-17
  • Develop compensation recommendation (CIC) – Proposed as an April Activity
  • Study and revise comprehensive staffing formulas
  • Prepare school and division non-­‐staff budget allocations
  • Prepare preliminary grant and other funds budgets
  • Complete all budget studies identified by the Superintendent or the Committee

Phase II – Superintendent’s Conceptual Budget Plan (March 2016 – April 2016) – During this phase the following action steps will be completed:

  • Develop the Superintendent’s Conceptual Budget Plan (SCBP)
  • Present the SCBP to the Board Budget Committee
  • Review and revise, as needed, the SCBP by the Board Budget Committee

Phase III – Implementation (April 2016 – June 2016) -‐ During this phase the following action steps will be completed:

  • Release budget allocations (non-staffing) to schools and divisions
  • Develop detailed budgets

Phase IV – Adoption (June 2016 – July 2016) -­ During this phase the following action steps will be completed:

  • Review of final draft budget
  • Hold public hearing
  • Adopt 2016-­‐2017 Budget

Staffing Phase (January 2016 – August 2016)

  • Board Budget Committee reviews staffing allocations from staffing formulas (February)
  • Staffing Allocations released to schools and divisions (March)
  • Staffing processes (March -­ August)

Proposed Board Budget Meeting Dates

October 26, 2015 3:00 – 4:45 Monthly Meeting

November 23, 2015 3:00 – 4:45 Monthly Meeting

January 25, 2016 3:00 – 4:45 Monthly Meeting

February 22, 2016 3:00 – 4:45 Monthly Meeting

March 21, 2016 3:00 – 4:45 Monthly Meeting

April 25 and 26, 2016 9:00 – 4:45 Review of Superintendent’s Conceptual Budget

July 1, 2016 11:00 – 2:00 Review of Final Draft of the FY 2016 Budget

July 20, 2016 8:00 Budget Hearing and Adoption

Compact Issues Committee

Compensation Recommendation April 18-­‐20, 2016

Superintendent Hopkins stressed that the sky is not falling. We should not be fearful and apprehensive.

The committee reviewed a preliminary list of budget reduction strategies..

Administration recommended the following:

  1. Review all vacant positions, effective today – do we need the position?
  2. Purchase no new furniture. Use used furniture from the renovated buildings.
  3. Minimize overtime, paper costs and energy usage.
  4. Cabinet will identify all programs and evaluate them for success.
  5. Call for input from staff on things to reduce.
  6. Do not start new programs.

Trustee Reid stated that the district would use a scalpel, not a cleaver to make cuts. It will be important to know what savings are and why cuts are being recommended.

The committee discussed ideas and asked questions. There will be an opportunity for employees to offer suggestions for savings and cuts early on in the process. More will be communicated on this in the near future.

Trustee Reid wanted to make sure we tell everyone of savings realized in the previous years. The Bus Hub is an example.

Administrators will have their budget teams look at things now.

Motion to accept the 6 items, moved by Jensen moved and seconded by McCullar. Unanimously approved by committee.

Trustee Reid’s closing comments.   Don’t walk out of here with doom and gloom. We are just trying to be fiduciary responsible. We will know more after the legislature sets direction.


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