Last week a group of school board members from all parts of the state met in a conference room to share their ideas for cutting expenses in their districts. They were trying to find new ways to protect the classroom despite the huge decrease in funding being discussed by state officials.
Several trustees reported that they had cut all the administrative costs they could over the past few years. Most of them reported that they had dipped into their fund balances as much as they dared at this point.
Some districts are reducing the number of positions through attrition, hoping to avoid reductions-in-force or layoffs. Several districts reported that they are cutting some programs including some athletics in next year’s budget. Many districts have asked existing personnel to take on more duties: librarians covering two schools, for example.
They even talked about saving money by mowing the grass less often, raising the temperature in classrooms by two degrees, and changing the frequency of janitorial service. One district is saving a little by shutting down the school cafeteria one day and having a picnic instead.
No stone left unturned. No cost-saving too small to be considered. Tough times for schools.
April 18, 2011