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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

Topics: School Board News

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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

Topics: School Board News

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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

Topics: School Board News

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