|3/19/2020 2:35:00 PM|
North Branch School Board adopts budget trimming plan
The North Branch School Board stuck to the plan and unanimously approved the recommended budget reduction measures, in a Board meeting early this month, re-scheduled due to spring break.
Over the past few weeks, the Board has reviewed public input and staff and administrative suggestions en route to trimming an expected shortfall of $500,000 from the 2020-2021 budget.
The cuts were achieved by letting go of staff in maintenance, clerks, aides and one science teacher position was eliminated. Staff to be potentially impacted were informed of their situation at the end of February.
A small savings is also being realized by not offering WiFi on school buses, due to lack of actual use.
The Board’s stated goal has been to retain North Branch’s enhanced learning offerings like Project Lead the Way, Junior ROTC, the ProStart culinary classes, robotics programs and providing all students grades 5-12 their own free electronic learning devices.
The revenue side of the ledger also got a revision with the activity fee increasing by $20 in 2020-2021.
Plus, the district will bring an assistant middle school principal on board-- after making this year’s principal (promotion from within) permanent.
The causes of the budget crunch are due mainly to the state aid formula not keeping pace with inflation. Costs for instructional materials, utilities, wages and assorted operational expenses go up at a faster rate than the state aid escalator. The state basic formula went up (per pupil) by two percent but the North Branch district officials estimate there is a $1,367 gap in what’s provided and what the inflation-adjusted allowance should be.
North Branch Area Public Schools has also seen a slowing in enrollment growth, starting with the real estate recession 12 years ago where there was student number decline. For 2020-2021 a loss of 25 students is anticipated.