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School Board Addresses Budget Reductions March 10

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The West Des Moines Community Schools Board of Education will address the final budget reduction proposal on Monday, March 10 at 7:00 p.m. The Board will also hold a work session at 5:15 p.m. during which they will review the 2014-15 certified budget.

Some of the items being proposed include closing Phenix Early Childhood Center, eliminating the district’s half-day kindergarten program, eliminating first grade assistants and reducing Level 1 special education program assistants.

The full proposal is available here: Final Budget Reduction Proposal

The proposal is being submitted after a four-month process, which included gathering reduction ideas and feedback from parents, community members and employees. This included holding several public meetings to provide information on the budget, the process being used to determine reductions and to gather feedback on possible reductions.

 

When will the School Board vote on the budget reductions?

The West Des Moines Community Schools Board of Education will address the final budget reduction proposal on Monday, March 10 at 7:00 p.m. in the Community Room at the Learning Resource Center, 3550 Mills Civic Parkway, West Des Moines.

School Board Meeting Agenda

School Board Meeting Information Packet

 

Where can I find the final list of items being proposed to cut?

The final budget reduction proposal being submitted to the School Board is available here:

Final Budget Reduction Proposal

 

Where can I find information about the district’s budget situation?

 

 

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Budget News: Parent Forums Scheduled – Be Informed, Share Feedback

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 Please note that the Feb. 17 meeting has been rescheduled for noon on Friday, Feb. 21.

This is a reminder that the West Des Moines Community Schools will hold three public meetings to provide district families the opportunity to give feedback on proposed budget cutting options.

The parent meetings will be held in the Community Room at the Learning Resource Center, 3550 Mills Civic Parkway, West Des Moines on:

  • Saturday, Feb. 15 from 9-10:30 a.m.
  • Monday, Feb. 17 from 12-1:30 p.m. RESCHEDULED: Friday, Feb. 21 12:00 p.m.
  • Tuesday, Feb. 18 from 7-8:30 p.m.

 

How can I advocate for a program, school or area or show my support for a specific reduction option?

There are several ways:

  1. Attend one of the meetings listed above. They are being structured specifically to provide information about the district’s budget and the reduction options and to gather feedback.
  2. Fill out the online feedback form available here through Monday, Feb. 24 at 5:00 p.m. (CST) The feedback form is now closed. Thank you for your input.
  3. Email WDMCS Superintendent Dr. Lisa Remy at remyl@wdmcs.org.
  4. Attend the Monday, Feb. 24 School Board meeting, which will start at 7 p.m. at the Learning Resource Center, 3550 Mills Civic Parkway, West Des Moines.

Where can I find the budget reduction items?
The list of options generated by parents, community members, staff, teachers, administrators, employee unions and School Board members are here  Budget Reduction Options (page 12).

Who will be at the parent meetings?
The following people will be at the meetings:

  • Superintendent Dr. Lisa Remy
  • Chief Financial Officer Paul Bobek
  • Associate Superintendent of Teaching and Learning Dr. Laurene Lanich
  • Interim Superintendent of Human Resources Carol Seid
  • Director of School/Community Relations Elaine Watkins-Miller

 Where can I find information about the district’s budget situation?

What is the timeline for the budgeting process?
The district has been working on the current budget reduction process since October 2013. The final budget reduction packet is tentatively set to go before the School Board on March 10 in order to proceed with planning for the next fiscal year. For more information on the budget timeline, please visit  Budget Reduction Process Timeline 

 

 

 

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Public Meetings Set for Feedback on Budget-Cutting Options

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The West Des Moines Community Schools will hold three public meetings to provide district families and community members the opportunity to provide feedback on proposed budget cutting options.

The community meetings will be held in the Community Room at the Learning Resource Center, 3550 Mills Civic Parkway on:

  • Saturday, Feb. 15 from 9-10:30 a.m.
  • Monday, Feb. 17 from 12-1:30 p.m.
  • Tuesday, Feb. 18 from 7-8:30 p.m.

Meetings are also being schedule for employees. The district’s preliminary budget-cutting package is currently scheduled to be reviewed by the School Board at its February 10 meeting.

More than 150 total cost-saving suggestions were submitted by staff, parents and community members January 2-14 through an online submission form as part of the district’s budgeting process. In addition, building principals, district administrators, the employee unions and the Superintendent Advisory Committees, which include School Board members, generated more than a total of 200 cost-saving suggestions.

A final cost-cutting package recommendation will go to the School Board in March.

The district plans to reduce approximately $3 million each year for the next two years based on preliminary budget estimates. The district is using a decision-making process call Tregoe to determine ways to reduce spending.

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Preliminary Budget-Cutting Proposal to Go to School Board in February

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The district’s preliminary budget-cutting package is currently scheduled to be reviewed by the School Board at its February 10 meeting.

The goal was originally to have the School Board review the draft package in January.

However, due to the large number of cost-cutting ideas submitted by staff, administrators, parents and community members, the Business Services and Human Resources departments are still working to document the costs associated with each option.

More than 150 total cost-saving suggestions were submitted by staff, parents and community members January 2-14 through an online submission form as part of the district’s budgeting process.

In addition, building principals, district administrators, the employee unions and the Superintendent Advisory Committees, which include School Board members, generated more than a total of 200 cost-saving suggestions.

The district is working on scheduling meetings in February for staff, parents and the community to provide feedback on the proposed cost-cutting package before the administration submits a final package recommendation to the School Board in March. The dates and times of the staff and community meetings will be announced once they are finalized.

The district plans to reduce approximately $3 million each year for the next two years based on preliminary budget estimates. The district is using a decision-making process call Tregoe to determine ways to reduce spending.

 

Want More Information? Have a Question?

For more information on the budget and the process being used to make reduction decisions, please see the resources below:

Budget Articles

Budget Information

Tregoe Decision-Making Process

Timeline

  • Have a question about the district’s budget? Please email WDMCS Superintendent Dr. Lisa Remy at remyl@wdmcs.org.

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Parents & Community Submit Over 150 Cost-Saving Ideas

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More than 150 cost-saving suggestions were submitted by parents and community members Jan. 2-14 through an online submission form as part of the district budgeting process. The WDMCS plans to reduce approximately $3 million each year for the next two years based on preliminary budget estimates. The district is using a decision-making process call Tregoe to determine ways to reduce spending.

On Jan. 16, building principals and department directors scored the submitted items against a set of 13 evaluation criteria. Prior to this, the district and building leaders also submitted ideas and scored the additional suggestions along with those submitted by the employee unions.

The School Board will review the suggested cost-cutting items in January. In February/March, parents and community members will be invited to provide feedback on the proposed cost-cutting package before it is submitted to the School Board in March for approval.

Budget Myth Buster No. 2
Myth
 The district can raise taxes to cover the projected deficit and cuts are not needed.

Fact
The Iowa Code through the school funding formula places limits on each of the property tax rate components. The district is currently at the statutory maximum and is not able to increase the general fund property tax rate any further.

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Budget News: Help Us Brainstorm Cost-Cutting Ideas

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The West Des Moines Community School District is seeking suggestions from parents and community members on ways to reduce district expenses.

As reported earlier, financial estimates show the district must reduce approximately $3 million from the general fund each year for the next two years. The district is using a process called Tregoe to make cost-cutting decisions.

 

Submit Your Idea!

  • Click here for the Submission Form - THIS FORM IS NOW CLOSED. Thank you to all those who submitted an idea. We had over 200 entries!
  • Online form open from January 2 to January 14.

 

What’s Next?

In addition to your ideas, building principals and district administrators have begun developing options. The employee unions—West Des Moines Education Association and the West Des Moines Educational Support Personnel Association—were also asked to provide ideas. Suggested options will also be requested from Superintendent Advisory Committees, which include School Board members.

The suggested ideas will be submitted to the district’s Business Services Department to document costs associated to the proposed options.

Beginning January 16, the building principals and district administrators will then score each option against a set of evaluation criteria.

In February/March, parents will be invited to provide feedback on the proposed cost-cutting package before it is submitted to the School Board in March.

 

Want More Information?

For more information on the budget and the process being used to make reduction decisions, please see the resources below:

Budget Articles

Budget Information

Tregoe Decision-Making Process

Timeline

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Budget News: Budget Cutting Criteria Selected

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As recently reported, early financial estimates show the district must reduce approximately $3 million from the general fund each year for the next two years. The district is using a process called Tregoe to make cost-cutting decisions.

The process uses a step-by-step approach to set objectives, organize and prioritize information, evaluate options and understand the impact of possible choices.

The first step was to identify how much money needs to be cut.

The second step was to develop the criteria to be used to evaluate suggested cost cutting ideas. The district administration has developed the criteria with input from several groups, including:

  • Parent representatives from each school who are members of the School Community Network
  • Teacher representatives who are members of the West Des Moines Education Association
  • Staff representatives who are members of the West Des Moines Educational Support Personnel Association
  • Building principals
  • District administrators
  • School Board

The final criteria is available here:

Evaluation Criteria

To learn more about the Tregoe process and budget reduction timeline, please see the resources below.

Timeline

Tregoe Process

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Nov. 11 Board Highlights: District Plans to Reduce Expenses

The West Des Moines Community Schools plans to reduce approximately $3 million each year for the next two years based on preliminary budget estimates.

Early projections show that the district will be closing in on the state-mandated limit on how much it can spend to educate students and operate the district in 2014 and beyond.

In Iowa, the state not only provides money to schools to operate, it also tells school districts how much money they are allowed to spend. The concept is called “spending authority.” It is unique to Iowa in the area of school finance and helps ensure equity in public education spending across the state.

It is against the law for a school district to spend more money than it is allowed to by the state. In fact, a school district can be shut down if it over spends its authorized limit.

This is why nearly every school district in the state – including West Des Moines Community Schools – budgets to spend slightly less than it is allowed. Since 1989, we have had a Board policy that states we can spend no more than 92 percent what the state says we can spend.

However, early projections show that the district will far exceed this in the coming years if spending is not reduced.

This is due, in part, to increases in costs outpacing increases in revenue. We have had a significant reduction in revenue over the past few years with the elimination of federal grants to our district, limited growth in state funding and a recent decrease in enrollment by 48 students. The state provides funds based on enrollment, with each student generating approximately $6,300.

At its Nov. 11 meeting, the School Board reviewed the projections as well as the process the district will use to reduce costs, which will involve input from parents, teachers, principals support staff and more. More information on the budget will be provided in upcoming issues of the Informaline and is available at www.wdmcs.org/departments/facilities-and-finance/budget/.

Meeting agendas and full minutes are available on the district website:

www.wdmcs.org/district/our-school-board/meetings. Follow informal board highlights on Twitter @WDMCS.

Budget and Finance

Budget Reduction Process – Tregoe

 

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Board Reviews Process to Cut Costs

At the School Board meeting on Oct. 28, WDMCS Interim Superintendent Dr. Lisa Remy reviewed how the district will make decisions regarding budget cuts for the 2014-15 school year.

Last year, district budget projections indicated that expenses would be greater than income this year and in future years, unless costs are reduced.

Remy explained that the district will use a decision-making process that involves feedback from various groups to determine how to reduce spending. The process is called Tregoe.

Also known as Kepner-Tregoe, the method uses a step-by-step approach to set objectives, organize and prioritize information, evaluate options and understand the impact possible choices. It was developed by RAND Corp. researchers Charles H. Kepner and Benjamin B. Tregoe in 1958 and is used by a variety of industry sectors, including education.

District-level administrators, the school board, principals, teachers, support personnel and parents will part of the process. In addition, teachers, staff, parents and community members will be provided an opportunity to offer feedback on the proposed final cost cutting package.

Work has started with district administration gathering information on factors that determine the district’s budget, and the Tregoe process will continue through March 2014.

For more information on the district’s budget and school finance, please visit:

Budget and Finance

Budget Reduction Process – Tregoe

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