District to present school budget July 25

Published on Thu, Jul 14, 2011 by Jeremy Schwartz

Read More News

The Blaine school district is two weeks away from unveiling its 2011/2012 budget to the school board as discussions continue over how roughly $200,000 less salary money from the state will affect the district’s employees.

The Blaine school board will host a public hearing on the budget at its July 25 meeting. Business manager Amber Porter said the hearing will be the public’s chance to learn more about next year’s budget and have their questions answered.

On July 10, the district released a preliminary budget overview, which includes the projected beginning and ending balances of the district’s five main funds. Porter said this overview provides the basics of what the district will spend and earn for the next year, though the numbers may change slightly by the time the school board approves the budget at its August 22 meeting.

For the general fund, through which most expenses are paid, the district plans to bring in about $20.4 million in the upcoming school year and spend about $21 million. The projected beginning general fund balance will make up the roughly $1.5 million difference, Porter explained.

These numbers come after district officials waited weeks for the state legislature to finalize its 2011/2013 biennium budget, which held statewide cuts to education, including about $200,000 less for salaries for Blaine teachers.

District superintendent Ron Spanjer said recent negotiations with the Blaine Education Association (BEA), the union that represents Blaine’s teachers, produced an agreement that rescinded nine of the 10 reduction in force (RIF) notices to the district’s certificated staff, which includes counselors and teachers. The 10th notice was for a currently unfilled halftime kindergarten teacher position that could be staffed in fall if kindergarten enrollment is high enough, Spanjer said.

Under the agreement, Blaine’s teachers will lose two days worth of salary for the upcoming school year. The district made a similar agreement with Blaine’s principals in which they will lose two-and-one-half days worth of salary. Both of these agreements expire on August 31, 2012.

Spanjer said negotiations are ongoing with the Service Employees International Union, which represents the district’s service workers. Earlier this year, the district issued 14 RIF notices for classified staff.

District officials began budget discussions in April through public forums that sought to gather input on budget items the district should prioritize. After gleaning suggestions, district staff developed a list of $1.69 million in budget adjustments for the 2011/2012 school year.

As part of these adjustments, the district issued the 25 reduction RIF notices to certificated staff and classified staff.

The notices also included one administrative position.