Schools continue budget talks
At a Kyrene School District governing board meeting Feb. 14, Jeremy Calles, business services specialist for the district, presented another two items being explored to balance the $5.2 million budget deficit for the 2012-13 school year: changes to the department and school budgets and to the district office.
Changes to the district office would include recoding positions under the Capital Override passed last year and restructuring the district office, saving a projected $350,000.
Calles brought forward a presentation reviewing why changes were made to middle school start times this year to create more efficiency in school bus routes, which saved the district over $300,000 by having bus drivers spend most their day transporting students, instead of having time off throughout the day.
Additionally, at this time last year the district had 40 transportation positions turned over, Calles said. This year, only four positions have been turned over, helping to save the district more money.
Transportation will still be under consideration for more changes in future board meetings, in addition to other line items currently being explored.
To help public better understand budget-saving strategies, the district held a citizen’s budget forum a week before the Feb. 14 board meeting to review the items presented to the board. District employees present during the meeting included Dan Langston, principal of Kyrene de las Manitas Elementary School, Rose Hass, detention teacher at Kyrene del Pueblo Middle School, Kathy Paine, sixth-grade teacher at Pueblo, Nancy Branch, principal of Kyrene de la Mirada Elementary School, Jama Nacke, principal of Pueblo, Amanda Hamm, Kyrene outreach and prevention services coordinator, Ellen Shamah, governing board member, Andy Val, community member and Calles who initiated the discussion.
The ten items being explored to save the district money include: reduced insurance prepayments, capital outlay revenue limit transfer, land request for proposal, expansion of community education, overall staffing allocations, energy efficiencies, phased retirement and changes to transportation, custodial services, district office, math and literacy coaches and middle school.
“These are items we’re exploring now,” Calles said. “Not everything in here has to happen, and even the changes that do happen don’t have to go to the high end (of projected costs).”