Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s) About School District Funding Cuts
Converse County School District #1 is facing some serious general fund budget reductions in the upcoming year. The district is taking a balanced approach to considering budget cuts. The district has also sought input from stakeholders, staff, and students through a survey which can be found on the district webpage. The following FAQ document attempts to address the issues that appear most frequently in the comments section of the survey.
While this FAQ page is helpful, it doesn't really address the basic issue of where funding comes from for various parts of running the school district. Would it be possible to have a diagram of some kind that shows the name of each pot of money, how much the district has in that pot of money, and what exactly that money can be allocated for? I believe it would be a valuable resource to help educate the community about the funding model and perhaps lead to better suggestions for budget saving measures.
Here is a link to the School Foundation Block Grant Flow Chart document that is published by the LSO School Finance Section of the WY State Government.
Why doesn’t the district stop busing kids in town?
Transportation funds are separate from the district’s general fund and are reimbursed by the state. The district does have an obligation to use those dollars prudently, and costs are monitored carefully. However, not busing kids in town would not save dollars in the district’s general fund.
Why does the district keep undertaking building projects (soccer field, parent drop-off loop) when dollars are tight?
The funding shortfall is in the district’s general fund. Building and facilities projects are not funded from the general fund. Instead, the money for most construction projects comes from the State Facilities Division to the district in either capital construction or maintenance funds that may not be applied to general fund costs. In addition, we have built or purchased facilities, such as the new soccer field, from recreation mill funds.
Why doesn’t the district cut special education?
The funding shortfall is in the district’s general fund. Special education is funded separately, and those funds may not be transferred to the general fund to offset shortfalls. In addition, special education funding is driven by student needs.
Why is the district hiring an assistant superintendent?
The number of positions at central office have been reduced, and duties will be transferred to the assistant superintendent and other central office administrators.
When the activities budget is not a large part of the general fund, why are activities being cut at all?
The district is using a balanced approach to making cuts which involves making staff reductions across the board in administration, certified, classified, and activities personnel and programs. Additionally, the district spends considerably more (163%) on activities than the funding model provides. If an activity is eliminated, the district will consider combining with another school district, which is allowed by the Wyoming High School Activities Association.
Why doesn’t the district close rural schools?
The district takes in more funding than we spend for rural schools. However, we are looking at reducing the rural school budget. We don’t have plans to close any rural schools, as the process to reestablish them is very difficult.
Why not cut all instructional facilitators?
The district is considering reducing some instructional facilitator time because of a reduction in state funding. However, instructional facilitators have been shown to have a positive impact on student learning. Also, instructional facilitators are continuing contract teachers who, if funding were cut for their positions, would have to be absorbed into the district certified staff in other positions.
Why are you cutting the woods classes?
We have lost enrollment at the high school. Next year our enrollment will drop even further. Some vocational teachers at Douglas High School teach far fewer students per day than teachers who teach in the core classes or some other teachers who teach electives. The recommendation to cut woods was also based on preparation for potential careers.
Is the practice of not allowing administrators to coach a policy?
The practice of not allowing administrators to coach has never been put into policy. It has been direction from the board. There have been exceptions in the past, but very few. With the budget cuts, many districts are looking at changing this practice as our coaches typically are either younger staff members, or those whose kids have graduated. Now that we aren't hiring many new teachers, and some of our older teachers are retiring, we may need to take these decisions on a case-by-case basis.
When will the school board be making decisions about cuts?
Administrative changes and recommendations will be made at the March school board meeting. Teacher and certified staff changes and recommendations will be made at the April school board meeting. Classified changes and recommendations will be made at the May school board meeting.