May 28, 2010
Why is the budget for Central Office Administration higher than actual expenditures from FY 2008-09?
FY 2008-09 expenditures were lower than normal due to the Governor’s furlough, which reduced those expenditures in June. In crafting the 09-10 budget we had to account for furlough funds added back; increase in hospitalization and retirement rates; and assumption of 100 percent budget and staffing since the identification of exact positions for reductions in this category were not finalized until later in the fall of 2009.
The position cuts made in this category did not take effect until later in the fall, and we had several positions in this category that were vacant and frozen for several months during this year, including that of the Superintendent. Those positions’ budgeted values remain in the budget so that we can accurately assess our potential savings as a result of those reductions and to ensure those budgeted funds are available to cover our expenditures as we close the year.
Why were teachers reduced in local funds and an increase in Non-Instructional Support local funds budgeted?
Key items related to the decisions on the use of these funds are as follows:
- The funds are meant to offset direct cuts to the state budget.
- The state made a direct cut of more than $8 million to state funds in FY 2009-10 for Non-Instructional Support. This funding category is the primary source of funds for substitute teachers, janitorial, clerical and technical support staff.
- These funds are Federal funds and as such must adhere to all the normal guidelines and rule related to the use of federal funds such as compliance rules for time & effort reporting, purchasing, contracts, etc.
- The White House strongly suggested that Federal ARRA funds be used to save classroom teaching positions as a first priority and retain as many jobs as possible. We have to report quarterly on how we have met these objectives.
- DPS chose to reallocate teacher positions to these funds (there are some school assistant principals also) since those positions are more in alignment with the preferred use under the federal guidelines.
- In using these funds for teachers we can ensure easy compliance with the use of the funds, time & effort, and quarterly federal reporting requirements. This pre-emptive action was to prevent the possibility of audit findings several years from now should the federal auditors question our meeting the objectives of this funding.
- In reporting to the state that teacher positions are being supported from these funds will aid us in applying additional pressure on the state to re-appropriate the $8 million cut for the district.
The state is more likely to look seriously at re-appropriating these funds if used for direct classroom teachers and support than for any non-instructional purpose.
special meeting on 4/15/10 related to DPS Budget
Responses provided by Interim Superintendent Hank Hurd, April 23, 2010
How much was used in the current fiscal year, FY 2009-10? What was stimulus funding used for, does it supplant lost state or local funding? How is DPS going to use stimulus funding for FY 2010-11?
DPS received $23.3M in federal stimulus funds in FY 2009-10. Of that amount, $8M was Federal Stabilization dollars to offset a direct state budget reduction. DPS used 100% of these funds to retain school staff. The state budget reduction was $8,341,000 so DPS still had a funding shortfall of $341,000. $15.3M was received in FY 2009-10 in ARRA grant funds predominantly through Title I and IDEA VI-B Programs. This funding was meant to be split between two years – 2009-10 and 2010-11. DPS has committed 70% of these ARRA funds in 2009-10, leaving 30% for 2010-11. These funds have been primarily used to retain 267 school-based positions in 2009-10. The remaining funding will be used in 2010-11 primarily for retaining school-based positions.
Are certain administrators getting raises? (reference to those on contracts)
There are no raises for any classification of DPS employee in the 2010-11 budget, including administrators who have contracts.
What cuts are being recommended in Fuller Building, and other administrative areas (i.e., outside of the classroom)
$7.3M in cuts outside of the classroom are being recommended in the 2010-11 budget. This includes approximately 60 central services positions.
What happened to the Reading Recovery program that the county started funding in the 1990’s? Where did the funds previously provided for this program go in the DPS budget?
During the 2008-09 school year, the district underwent an external audit to evaluate and improve the DPS K-12 Comprehensive Literacy Model. One of the findings of the audit was that all classrooms needed support to implement scientifically-based literacy practices to benefit all students in grades K-5. Reading Recovery efforts supported first grade students in a 1:1 ratio for most of the day. As a benefit to the district and classroom teachers our highly trained Reading Recovery teachers were placed in the role of Academic Coaches. These positions were funded with federal stimulus dollars, and the local funds were redirected to other academic programs. This allowed DPS to maintain the highly skilled literacy staff to address a larger audience with services to the all classrooms.
Will the DPS budget recommendation protect the classrooms, and are they looking at specific programs that might not be working as anticipated and making reductions/cuts in those areas?
All programs and areas are being closely scrutinized and evaluated as budget reduction options are considered. Every effort is being made to protect the classroom.
How many DPS officials receive travel allowances? How much is allotted for each official?
The Interim Superintendent, Chief Academic Officer and six Assistant Superintendents receive travel allowances. The Assistant Superintendents receive $725 per month, the Chief Academic Officer receives $825 per month, and the Interim Superintendent receives $775 per month. They receive these allowances instead of being reimbursed for travel at the federal rate of $.50 per mile. The Interim Superintendent and one Assistant Superintendent also receive $100 per month cell phone reimbursements as they do not have DPS cell phones.
How much does DPS get from fines and forfeitures?
$847,153.90 was received in fines and forfeitures in 2008-09. Of this amount $138,871.10 was paid out to Charter Schools.
Commissioners would like to see a list of cuts made by DPS, from the top down.
The Budget Reduction Options being considered for 2010-11 are posted on the DPS website. http://www.dpsnc.net/about-dps/budget/BudgetOptionMenu_3-25-10.pdf
A list of System Efficiencies and the Central Services Position Reductions for 2009-10 also are on the DPS Budget Website.
Have heard that DPS is looking at a record number of retirees in the upcoming year, how will those be handled in the upcoming budget?
DPS retirement applications are up significantly over last year, just as they are in other districts across the state. Retirees will help in the position reduction for the 2010-11 budget.
Concerned about BOCC being asked to raise the tax rate for schools when they don’t see a willingness to make cuts or reductions, especially at the top of the organization
During 2009-10, 61 central services positions were eliminated and central services operating budgets were cut 25%. The budget proposal for 2010-11 includes approximately 60 additional central services position cuts and another 25% reduction in department operating budgets.
Do students who don’t pass EOG tests at the 3rd, 6th or 8th grant levels get promoted to a higher grade? If so, what is done to improve their performance?
According to State Statute, the principal makes the final decision on grading and placing a student. However, this is done with feedback from teachers, counselors, and parents. Teachers are responsible for early identification of students who are at risk of not meeting local and/or state promotion standards (functioning below grade level). At the time students are identified as functioning below grade level, the teacher and principal with the support and assistance of the students' parent/guardian and central services staff will use all available resources to begin intervention, including but not limited to Personal Education Plans as per Board Policy 3240. Each PEP includes focused intervention, accelerated activities and performance benchmarks for academic improvement. The Durham Public Schools identify students at risk of academic failure based on grades, observations, state assessments, and other factors that impact student performance that teachers and administrators consider appropriate. Students who are at risk of academic failure shall be identified and provided with academic interventions. These interventions could include: Double Dose Literacy and Math, before or after school tutorials, and modifications made to address any academic limitations.
Is busing provided for after-school programs located at Durham County Schools?
Transportation is provided for Encore! and Citizens’ Schools after-school programs in middle schools. DPS also provides transportation for one elementary and one middle school 21st Century after-school program.