• Developing the Budget: Questions and Answers

    This page contains answers to questions related to the development of the 2019-20 budget. Annually, District leaders and the Governing Board work together to evaluate revenue and expenditures in order to create and approve a budget for the following school year. The process is dynamic, one in which information is shared and feedback collected. The District will utilize official communication channels to share information. Governing Board meeting agendas and presentation materials may be found on Board Docs. At different times of the year, questions are asked. The space below is used to address some of the more common questions asked. As the budget development process unfolds, proposals may change with new information and finalized by Board action.

    Currently the District is looking at three primary areas for budget reduction. These proposals would save the Kyrene School District millions of dollars that can be invested in Kyrene classrooms to directly impact students. Specifically, the proposed savings will help fund student-focused areas of priority, such as: social emotional curriculum, the number of counselors for schools, professional development for staff, and intervention materials/resources for Math and English Language Arts.

  • Why is the District considering budget reductions?

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    Annually, the District and Governing Board review and approve budget allocations that are necessary to balance the budget. This year’s budget was approved with a surplus of only $4,609. New initiatives will require the District to find more efficiencies in the budget. Specifically, initiatives in Kyrene’s strategic plan (i.e. social emotional learning, elementary design, and other identified areas) will increase expenditures above current year levels. As such, the District is considering cost savings that can be realized through budget reductions.

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  • How much savings will the District assume if all three budget reductions are realized?

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    Based on the January 8 Board presentation, the estimated budget savings from all three (3) reductions (middle school staffing model, bell schedules, and the employee discount for Community Education programs) could result in up to $2.5 million in reductions. Final values may be adjusted depending on final Board approval.

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  • What are the primary areas of budget reduction? What will the cost savings fund?

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    The Governing Board is currently reviewing three primary areas of budget reductions to support the funding of District priorities. Areas of consideration for cost savings include changes in (1) the middle school staffing model, (2) the bell schedule, and (3) the employee discount for Community Education programs. The District will allocate funds from any budget savings to support priorities that put more dollars in the classroom into areas such as social emotional learning, elementary design, and/or other identified areas of focus identified in the District’s strategic plan. The number of priorities funded is dependent upon the cost savings from reductions.

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  • Who participated in making recommendations for the areas of priority and reduction?

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    Superintendent Dr. Vesely and Chief Financial Officer Chris Herrmann facilitated sessions with stakeholder groups to provide feedback about spending priorities and possible reduction areas from October through December. Information from these meetings was brought forward to the Governing Board during a retreat (December 5) and the Board meeting on January 8.

    • Parent/Superintendent Council (PSC)
    • Community/Superintendent Council (CSC)
    • Teacher/Superintendent Council (TSC)
    • School Leadership (Principals and Assistant Principals)
    • Kyrene Education Association (KEA)
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  • Why aren’t existing reserve balances being used to fund new spending priorities?

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    The purpose of reserve balances is to manage cash flow or to mitigate volatility in funding (such as during recessionary periods), address any unexpected/unanticipated costs, and obtain higher bond credit ratings. Reserve balances should not be used to fund ongoing operational expenses; this approach is not financially sustainable as it will continuously deplete the balance each year.

    • Reserve balances are an important component in establishing credit ratings for school districts. Higher credit ratings equate to lower interest rates, and this is important to taxpayers who ultimately pay the interest costs when school districts sell bonds.
    • Kyrene receives the highest bond credit rating in Arizona and shares that distinction with three other school districts. Reserve balances for Kyrene are closely aligned with the balances of the other highly rated districts, so a decrease in Kyrene’s reserve balance runs the risk of a downgraded credit rating resulting in additional costs to taxpayers.
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  • How do changes in the middle school staffing model create cost savings?

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    The current staffing model is expensive, not sustainable with current Arizona funding allocations, and not equitable amongst classroom teachers. Approximately, only 20% of classroom teachers have additional PLC planning time within their daily assignment in the current model. Based on the January 8 presentation, proposed savings for a change are approximately $1,170,000. These values may be adjusted in alignment with FY20 student enrollment and staffing allocations. 

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  • Will middle school staffing reductions be offset by teacher attrition?

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    Historically, the District hires approximately 120 teachers a year (10% of teaching force). Theoretically, this could offset any reductions proposed in the model. Any surplus teachers will be placed into teaching assignments based on their certification.

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  • What are the key factors of the proposed middle school staffing model?

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    Current and proposed middle school staffing models.

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  • How are decisions made for Reduction in Force?

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    Board policy that governs Reduction in Force is GCQA.

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  • How do changes in the bell schedule create cost savings?

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    The current two (2) tiered bell schedule is not efficient and is costly to operate, as it requires additional bus drivers to transport students. A schedule with multiple tiers is the industry standard used by other school districts and considered best practice because fewer drivers are needed for the required bus routes. By modifying the bell times, it will help alleviate the driver shortage faced by Kyrene as there is a statewide shortage of drivers. 

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  • What will the District do with excess buses?

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    The District is currently looking into options on how to address the potential surplus number of buses. This includes determining market values and possibly selling vehicles, or retaining/rotating the current fleet in order to extend the useful life of the vehicles.

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  • What are the associated cost savings with the employee discount for community education programs?

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    The cost of the current employee discount structure operates at a loss of over $400,000 annually, only benefitting approximately 10% of all employees. Current staff discounts for Kids Club, After Hours, and Community/Signature Preschool are offered at rates up to a 75% discount.

    • The current model is reflective of an increase in the discount that occurred in 2015-16 to offset the financial impact of years when salaries were frozen.
    • The current model requires additional staffing to manage the taxable income compliance requirements for any discount in excess of 20%.
    • Three options were reviewed in the January 8 Board presentation, showing estimated annual budget savings. These options and related values may be adjusted with final Board approval and employee participation.
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  • Why do the bell schedule and employee discount proposals look different than what I saw....?

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    The budget development process is dynamic, and proposals are adapted to be responsive to feedback. For example, the bell schedule survey illustrated both four (4) and six (6) tiers of start/end times. Responding to community feedback, the District proposed a three (3) tier schedule to the Governing Board on Janaury 15. Adjustments were also made to the employee discount proposals with the focus on cost-neutral solutions.

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  • Where can I submit questions? Provide feedback?

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    Submit questions here.

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Last Modified on August 12, 2019