Budget and Service Level Conversations

District Works to Align Services with Resources

3-22-13 (Update)

School Board approves Hybrid Option for 2013-14 budget

Superintendent Keith Jacobus presented the district’s final thoughts on the Hybrid Option for the 2013-14 school year's budget at the School Board meeting on March 21. He explained that the Hybrid Option responds to the feedback received from community and staff throughout the Service Level process.

The School Board approved the Hybrid Option, which increases the classroom teacher staffing ratio by one student, increases walking distances for middle schools from 1 to 1.5 miles and the high schools from 1.5 to 2 miles, and reduces district support services staff by 4.0 FTE. This option does not impact the areas of School Support Services, Operations and Maintenance, and Capital.

More information and background documents on the Service Level process are available on this website, including the links to the left.

3-13-13 (Update)

School Board presented with Hybrid Option for consideration

The final steps for the Service Level Process are expected to conclude at the School Board Meeting on Thursday, March 21. Being presented will be the final thoughts for the proposed Hybrid Option for the 2013-14 school year's budget.

Following the earlier community meetings and on-line survey opportunity, administration developed a Hybrid Option that responds to the feedback received from community and staff.

The Hybrid Option Matrix presented to the School Board on March 7, meets the $2 million target in budget reductions to ensure the district stays within its Fund Balance Policy at the end of the 2013-14 school year. The March 7 School Board presentation and web stream of the School Board meeting (http://www.sowashco.k12.mn.us/granicus/) explain the proposal in more detail.

A Community Meeting to present the Hybrid Option has been scheduled for Tuesday, March 19 at 6:30 p.m. in the Cottage Grove Middle School Cafeteria. It is anticipated that the School Board will approve this option at their next regular meeting on Thursday, March 21.

A final survey is available until March 20 regarding the Hybrid Option, as well as the overall process and resulting budget decision making.

Why the Hybrid Option?
The initial Budget Option Survey results indicated that a majority of respondents favored retaining funding in all six Service Level categories at their current level. 82% also indicated that reductions should not occur uniformly across all Service Level factors. There was mixed support for any particular option. The Hybrid Option is an effort to balance these three factors. It reduces PreK-12 Instruction less than the proposed amount required by lowering from level 3 to level 2.25 and using those funds to retain or minimize impact to other services. School Support, Operations and Maintenance and Capital would remain at their current service levels. The other areas to see a reduction in services would be in Transportation and District Support, with partial reductions proposed. Transportation would move from Level 3 to 2.5 and District Support would move from Level 2 to 1.25.Rationale to support the proposed reductions includes:

  • Over 80% of the current budget is within PreK-12 Instruction and School Support Services. In order to get to the $2M target, one of those areas had to be reduced. With the following as key factors supporting the reduction in the PreK-12 Instruction Service Level:
    • Staffing ratios don’t equate to actual class size.
    • The average class size per grade is below the staffing ratio.
    • There are class size reduction dollars in place to keep primary class sizes smaller across the district at the elementary level.
    • The licensed staff to student ratio at the elementary is 16.73 to 1 student.
    • Academic services at elementary schools, not driven by the student schedule, will not be impacted. This allows for flexibility at the building level to meet needs-based staffing.
    • This would include orchestra, band, media, Reading Recovery and discretionary staff.
    • Middle and High Schools have licensed staff, not driven by the schedule, in place for intervention and enrichment opportunities for students. This allows for flexibility at the building level to meet needs-based staffing.
    • Middle School includes literacy coaches, gifted and talented, media, discretionary
      High School includes ROTC, literacy, GT / AP coordinators, orchestra, band, AVID, discretionary, IB and Teacher Cadet
    • We don’t support any further reduction for activities because we recently reduced the activities budget and also raised student fees.
  • If all but PreK-12 Instruction were reduced, the impact would be significant within those areas, and it would also have an impact on instruction.
  • The hybrid option supports a case for all of the things that happen in school including curriculum and instruction, technology infrastructure and security needs.
  • Previous reductions in supplies and material budgets make it difficult to take more from the now minimal budgets.


TRANSPORTATION

  • Prior to 2009-10, walking distances for junior high students were 1.5 miles and high school students were 2 miles. We propose returning to those levels with middle schools to be at 1.5 miles and high schools to be at 2 miles.

DISTRICT SUPPORT

  • Proposed reductions within District Support will reduce core functions. This is recommended in order to help alleviate the number of staff reductions needed for PreK-12 instruction. We recognize the resulting impact on service to all employees and the community.


CAPITAL

  • We support maintaining the capital service area because we recognize ongoing needs in the area of curriculum and instruction and technology.

SCHOOL SUPPORT SERVICES

  • Maintaining school support services to ensure positive strides toward the well-being and success of students mental health, safety and environment.
  • School support allows for attention to student and parent needs
  • Maintains customer service by not reducing school support at the building as they are the “faces of the district.”
  • Teaching and Learning Department maintained in order to support instruction.

OPERATIONS & MAINTENANCE

  • Operations and maintenance services are maintained to support a clean, healthy and safe learning environment.

3-8-13 (Update)

School Board presented with Hybrid Option for consideration

Following the Feb. 7 presentation of the Service Level Matrix, three proposed options for the 2013-14 school year were developed to support the needed reductions in the district’s general fund budget. These options were presented to the community in February.

Following the community meetings and on-line survey opportunity, administration developed a Hybrid Option that responds to the feedback received from community and staff.

The Hybrid Option meets the $2 million target in budget reductions to ensure the district stays within its Fund Balance Policy at the end of the 2013-14 school year.

The Hybrid Option Matrix is available. The powerpoint from the March 7 School Board presentation is available. To view a web stream of the School Board presentation, go to: http://www.sowashco.k12.mn.us/granicus/.

This option increases the classroom teacher staffing ratio by 1.0 FTE, increases walking distances for middle schools from 1 to 1.5 miles and the high schools from 1.5 to 2 miles, and reduces district support services staff. The Hybrid does not impact the areas of School Support Services, Operations and Maintenance and Capital.

A Community Meeting to present the Hybrid Option has been scheduled for Tuesday, March 19 at 6:30 p.m. in the Cottage Grove Middle School Cafeteria.

It is anticipated that the School Board will approve this option at their next regular meeting on Thursday, March 21.

2-22-13 (Update)

Meetings set for 2013-14 Budget Options
Following the School Board conversation on the final outcome of the Service Level Matrix, budget options for 2013-14 will be shared with the community beginning Monday, Feb. 25. It is anticipated that as much as $2 million will need to be reduced beginning with the 2013-14 fiscal year.

The meetings to discuss options are set for Monday, Feb. 25 at Woodbury High School; Thursday, Feb. 28 at Park High School; and Wednesday, March 6 at East Ridge High School. The meetings will include a presentation with an opportunity for comments regarding each of the proposed budget options. All meetings will be held from 6:30 to 8 p.m. in the school’s media centers.

The three options are now available:
     2013-14 Budget Option 1
     2013-14 Budget Option 2
     2013-14 Budget Option 3

 Once you have reviewed the options, please participate in the Survey Regarding Proposed Option Levels. The survey will be available through Wednesday, March 6.

The options will come before the School Board on March 7, with a final recommendation for approval at their meeting on March 21. In order to provide public input on the proposed level of services, based on budget parameters, the district is hosting the three public sessions for an introduction of the options and to obtain feedback from the community.

Questions about the Service Level Process and the upcoming meetings can be directed to info@sowashco.k12.mn.us.

2-5-13 (Update)

Thank you to more than 600 people who either attended the recent Service Level Conversations and/or participated in the on-line survey. The on-line survey results are available on this page as are the revised Service Level Matrix and supporting background documents for each service area.

With the upfront work of the Service Level Design Teams now complete, a presentation of the overall Service Level Process will be made at the School Board on Thursday, Feb. 7. As proposed, a Service Level Matrix has been developed that will support decision-making as it relates to the services we provide and the costs associated with those services.

Once the Feb. 7 School Board meeting concludes, administration will work to develop Service Level options that are in line with the budgetary needs. Posted at this site in the near future, and shared throughout the community will be more feedback opportunities as they relate directly to the reductions needed for the 2013-14 budget (to remain in line with the School Board’s Fund Balance Policy).

The options to Service Levels (and in line with budget parameters) will be presented to the School Board on March 7, with a final recommendation for approval at their meeting on March 21.

Questions can be directed to info@sowashco.k12.mn.us

1-15-13 (Update)

Service Level Conversations have begun for staff and community members. Please consider attending one of the meetings to share your feedback regarding the proposed Service Levels and the impact they will have on student learning, the district’s decision-making regarding the budget and the upcoming review of the Strategic Plan.

This web page includes the documents prepared to share what is being proposed within the Service Level Matrix (the guiding document for the process). To better understand the Service Level Matrix, each of the seven areas have background documents that are available through the links on the left side of this page.

Questions about the process or the meetings being held can be addressed to info@sowashco.k12.mn.us.

Thank you for your time and energy. For a schedule of the remaining meetings, see the information below that was posted earlier in the month.


School districts are always trying to do what’s best for students within the budget constraints. The Service Level process being developed, and soon to be presented, is intended to support improved alignment of what we do and what we provide for students to the financial resources over time.

All District 833 staff and community members are invited and encouraged to attend one of the upcoming conversations regarding the alignment of services to the budget. These conversations will outline our services and how we plan to better align our financial resources. Following a presentation, there will be an opportunity for both staff and community to provide input on the proposals.

Staff and Community Meetings:
 (Staff members are asked to attend any meeting date that accommodates their schedule between 4:30 and 6 p.m. and Community members are asked to attend any meeting date that accommodates their schedule between 6:30 and 8 p.m.):

Tuesday, Jan. 15, Oltman Middle School Media Center
Staff – 4:30-6 p.m.
Community – 6:30-8 p.m.

Tuesday, Jan. 22, Woodbury Middle School Media Center
Staff – 4:30-6 p.m.
Community – 6:30-8 p.m.

Wednesday, Jan. 23, Cottage Grove Middle School Media Center
Staff – 4:30-6 p.m.
Community – 6:30-8 p.m.

Monday, Jan. 28, Lake Middle School Media Center
Staff – 4:30-6 p.m.
Community – 6:30-8 p.m.

To prepare for these conversations, district leaders have been meeting for a few months to consider seven broad areas of the budget:  PreK-12 Learning, District Support Services, School Support Services, Operations and Maintenance, Capital, Transportation, and Sites and Buildings. In each of these areas, the services are being considered and ranked on a level from what is minimally acceptable to what our vision would be for 2016, the concluding year of our current Strategic Plan. The outcome is a “service level matrix” similar to the district’s VisionCards™ that will help track progress over time in our service levels in each of the seven areas. The matrix is intended to not only track progress, but help with the budget decisions facing the School Board for the remainder of this year and into the future.

To understand more about the process and the expected outcome:

CLICK BELOW FOR A VIDEO BY THE SUPERINTENDENT

 CLICK HERE FOR A SLIDESHOW PRESENTATION