WDMCS to Start Budget Reduction Process for 2021-22
West Des Moines Community Schools (WDMCS) leadership determined the need to reduce the budget by $2.5-3.5 million for 2021-22 school year. This is a result of three key issues.
1. Deficit spending for three years. WDMCS continues to use reserve funds to cover deficit spending. It’s like using money out of a savings account to cover basic monthly expenses. WDMCS must adjust its budget so we no longer dip into our “savings” but can pay our expenses with the revenue we receive.
2. Declining enrollment. The October 2020 official enrollment count is down more than 170 students from last year. The state provides funds based on enrollment and is a significant source of revenue. Decreased enrollment results in decreased funding from the state.
3. Lack of adequate State Supplement Aid (SSA). SSA impacts the amount of revenue each student generates, and currently, SSA is extremely low. The gap between SSA and the cost of operating a school district continues to widen, which also results in decreased revenue. SSA is determined by the Iowa legislature.
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 against the law for a school district to spend more money than it is allowed to by the state.
WDMCS has not gone through a budget reduction process since the 2015-16 school year when $530,000 was cut from the 2016-17 budget. The district needs to reduce its General Fund budget by at least $2.5 million to reverse the deficit spend trend while maintaining necessary funding reserves.
CFO Paul Bobek presented financial projections to the Board of Education in a Sept. 14, 2020, Board workshop. At the conclusion of the presentation. Bobek explained budget reductions must be made for the 2021-22 school year.
Superintendent Remy shared that a 60+ person Long-Range Planning Committee composed of parents, students, teachers, administrators, and community members will serve to assist Dr. Remy and the leadership team in determining where cuts are needed. The first committee meeting is scheduled for mid-January, with the final budget reduction recommendations going to the Board in early March.
Budget Reduction Timeline
- Fall 2020: Superintendency shared with Board and district leadership teams about the need to go through the budget reduction process.
- Dec. 14, 2020: CFO Paul Bobek presented to the Board of Education FYE ‘20 Review and Financial Projections.
- Dec. 16-18, 2020: WDMCS staff and families learn about need for 2021-22 budget reductions.
- Dec. 18, 2020: Individuals invited to Long Range Planning Committee*
- Jan. 19, 2021: First committee meeting: review purpose, start to review budget packages.
- Jan. 26, 2021: Second committee meeting: continue to review budget packages.
- Feb. 4, 2021: Third committee meeting: finish budget packages review and complete non-personnel educational impact survey.
- Feb. 11, 2021: Fourth and final committee meeting: review priority results.
- Feb. 8 & 22, 2021: Board workshops to review progress and finalize reduction list.
- March 8, 2021: Board of Education votes on final 2021-22 budget reduction recommendations.
*This 60+ person committee will include parents, students, teachers, administrators, community members, and Superintendency