Ferguson-Florissant Board Presented $7 Million in Budget Cuts
In the first draft of the 2013-2014 budget, the board and the public got a hard look at numbers and cost savings for the district.
In a first close look of the 2013-2014 budget, the Ferguson-Florissant School District has already eliminated approximately $7 million, according to preliminary budget figures.
Wednesday, the Ferguson-Florissant Board of Education heard the first draft figures for the 2013-2014 budget. Last month, it was revealed that the district would face close to a $10 million shortfall due to a number of issues, including lower revenues, decreased property values and rising costs.
District Chief Human Resource Officer Amy Joyce and Finance Director Laura Modrusic presented a budget draft of $134.8 million with approximately $6.9 million in cuts.
According to the budget, a number of cuts and costs have been accounted in the budget, including a savings of more than $2.9 million in salaries and benefits. According to Joyce, through attrition and not refilling those positions, the district would be able to account for those savings. In addition, many staff members may be moved internally to account for the needs of schools. Joyce said 85 percent of the budget is composed of salaries and benefits.
Other savings come from the district’s early retirement program and the hiring of new and younger staff at a lower cost as well as not replacing other positions.
Superintendent Art McCoy said that there would be no layoffs or cuts made to positions or salaries and remains hopeful through the tough budget situation.
“We’re cutting back on things that have proven not to be effective,” he said. “We’re required to focus on our core standards. We’re doing out of the box practices for student achievement and innovation. We are committed to keeping high-quality programs for students.”
McCoy pointed out that the district remains committed to several programs, such as early childhood education and building on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) innovations.
One cut in particular that stirred a few parents at the board meeting was the cut of the annual festival, Celebrate Children, which would save the district more than $72,000.
But McCoy said that with the set up of a foundation and possibly a fee for entrance that the celebration could still go on. McCoy said the foundation would be a partnership with area companies could help generate up to $1 million for the district.
The recommended cuts and savings come from suggestions from the budget task force, which proposed $3 million in savings, and the district.
Joyce informed the board that this is a single draft of the budget, and the final budget will be proposed for approval at June’s board meeting.
The 2013-2014 fiscal year will begin July 1. Last year, the board approved the 2012-2013 budget at $138 million.