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Updated Wednesday, June 19, 2013 at 3 PM EST
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You are Viewing an Archived IssuePosted: 05/30/12
Budget cuts for RCS
by CHRIS GRAYSavings in Romeo Community Schools largely depend on what concessions will be made for health insurance payments.
Observer Staff Writer
The Board of Education voted in favor of budget cuts that will reduce expenditures by up to $1.38 million at its May 21 meeting.
Depending on how negotiations with employee groups play out, though, that amount could be as low as $684,700.
In April, the savings realized from employee concessions was shown as being $500,000 to $900,000. At the May meeting, though, this range was altered to be a minimum of $200,000 due to the state's approval of the Public Funded Health Insurance Contribution Act.
The act calls for employers to place a hard cap on how much they contribute to health insurance premiums or to have employers pay no more than 80 percent of premiums. The remaining 20 percent would be paid by employees.
If the board decides to comply with the 80/20 split, the net savings would be $873,902. If the hard cap was placed, the savings would be $200,280. The hard cap uses a formula to determine how much the employer pays.
The board tabled a resolution that would align the district with the 80/20 option. Board President Anita Banach said this was to allow administrators to speak with employee groups.
"At this point we want to work with employee groups to find an insurance that works with the cap," Banach said.
Since the board needs a balanced budget by June 30, a determination must be made before then. The savings would become effective July 1 upon the expiration of current contracts.
Aside from negotiations, the next largest savings in the adopted budget cuts was $300,000 from reducing four teaching positions. These teachers are a first-grade teacher at Amanda Moore Elementary and Hamilton-Parsons Elementary and a second-grade teacher at Indian Hills Elementary and Washington Elementary.
Textbook funding was cut by $20,000, and the district supplies budget was reduced by 10 percent for a $5,000 savings.
Given the district's current funding and the state of the economy, Banach said the cuts were "reasonable." At the same time, she said the district shouldn't cut much deeper.
"Romeo Community Schools can't continue to reduce," Banach said. "We are impacting the overall educational experience for the kids."
Board members weren't in favor of increasing ticket prices for high school athletic events as a part of the budget changes.
The increase would've bumped tickets to $5 each for an estimated revenue increase of $5,000. Banach said the benefits generated by the increase would've been minimal.
"It would negatively impact parents and it's a very small increase when looking at the overall budget," she said.
Other budget cuts included reduced legal and hardware spending and savings in postage and copier usage.
Although the efforts will help lower expenses, the district won't be certain of the budget situation until June when it receives information from the state.
"This is the first year our expenses may exceed revenue and we have to use fund equity," Banach said.