Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Brevard Public Schools Proposed Budget Cuts Released

VIERA, FLA. - As promised at the December 11, 2012 Brevard County School Board Meeting, school superintendent Dr. Brian Binggeli has released the list of proposed cuts and revenue enhancements to the 2013-2014 school year budget. 


“With the retirement of the critical needs quarter mill, resulting in a $8.9 million recurring loss, along with the failed half-cent sales tax referendum, we needed to make significant cuts to our operating budget to provide greater stability for capital funding,”  Binggeli said. “We have $1.8 billion in facilities to maintain and close to 500 busses.  We have been deferring critical renewal needs for the past years that cannot be sustained.” 



The completed list includes the closure of four schools; Clearlake Middle School, Gardendale Elementary, Sea Park Elementary, and South Lake Elementary.



Brevard Public Schools maintains that District personnel engaged in a rigorous process to produce the list of proposed cuts. The challenge was to increase capital funds through a systematic approach that prioritized student programming.  Each potential cut was weighted as to its impact on the district’s mission from low to high. 


“As items were put on the table, we looked specifically at three things: depth of impact on all students in BPS, depth of impact to the staff, and the amount of money associated with the proposed cut,” said Michelle Irwin, director of District Communications. 


Part of the plan includes revenue enhancements along with transfer of funds from district reserves. 


“We will take $4 million from our capital reserve over the next two years for a total transfer of $8 million. We will also be moving $10 million from our operating budget to our capital budget,” added Binggeli.



Brevard Public Schools is making the proposed cuts as a comprehensive plan to preserve the integrity of its facilities and transportation without deferring the costs to future generations. “The sales surtax was presented to our community as a way to stop this untenable path of deferral. It is likely to be presented again in 2014. But for now, we must take responsible action,” Binggeli concludes.



To gain community input, forums are being planned. There will be a forum dedicated to boundary decisions related to the proposed school closures at the Educational Services Center in Viera on January 10, 2013 at 6:30. Forums to gain community input as to the proposed list of budget cuts will be planned for March and April. 












2013-2014 Proposed Budget Cuts and Revenue Enhancement Plans
Frequently Asked Questions
Published By Brevard County Public Schools


Q: What was the process utilized to develop the list of cuts and how were they prioritized?
 

A: Input was gained from district personnel to begin the process of cutting over $30 million dollars. Each potential cut was weighted as to its impact on the district’s mission from low to high. As items were put on the table, we looked specifically at three things: depth of impact on all students in BPS, depth of impact to the staff, and the amount of money associated with the proposed cut.


Q: Will there be an opportunity for public input?
 

A: Yes. We will host a community forum at the Educational Services Center on January 10, 2013 at 6:30 pm for individuals impacted by the proposed school closures. The purpose of this meeting is to gain input from affected individuals regarding boundaries. For community input related to other proposed cuts, there will be several forums scheduled in March and April of 2013.


Q: Why are so many cuts coming from the Operating Fund?
 

A: The district has lost 65% of its Capital Funding (buildings, technology, and buses) and with the failed half-cent sales surtax referendum, must move funds from the only other source it has - Operating. We have $1.8 billion in facilities to maintain and close to 500 busses. We have been deferring critical renewal needs for the past years that cannot be sustained.
 

Q: What will happen if the district receives more funding than anticipated?
 

A: If additional funding is obtained, items closest to the end of the list will be taken off the recommendation to be cut.
 

Q: What does “revenue through marketing” mean?
 

A: The Board of Education has developed a policy to increase advertising within district buildings and it is the district’s intent to increase appropriate advertising to create a new revenue stream.
 

Q: What does “diminishing comfort zones” mean?
 

A: To decrease our energy use, we have been implementing a variety of efficiency methods that has already reduced our energy consumption and costs. The new initiative means that we will standardize consumption use among our buildings to recoup additional dollars.



Q: What does “pay to participate” mean to students involved in athletics?


A: Student athletes will share some of the costs associated with extra-curricular activities. The pay schedule is still under development and the current dollar amount indicated is based on estimates, which could increase or decrease slightly.




Q: Why is the district charging an application fee for Choice programs?
 

A: BPS believes that students can obtain a quality education at all of its schools. However, we also recognize that parents value some of the specialty programs and out of area options currently available. However, there are additional administrative functions associated with providing these options that can no longer be sustained with our current funding levels. To continue offering Choice and address the extra costs, we are implementing the application fee system.
 

Q: Will the district provide any accommodations with the new fees that have been proposed?
 

A: No. Since “Choice” options are not required by the State and community schools offer
comprehensive and valuable educational services, all individuals who seek a Choice option
will pay the same fee.
 
Q: How will students who have previously utilized corridor bussing get to and from school if it is eliminated?
 

A: The parent will be responsible for transporting his/her child(ren) to Choice programming. If this is not feasible, the student (s) will need to re-enroll in his/her community school.
 

Q: Will Robotics be eliminated?
 

A: No. The program will be available, however the district will no longer pay for entrance fees into competitions. These will become the responsibility of the student.


Q: How many jobs will be lost due to the proposed cuts?
 

A: Our budget plan indicates the potential positions that could be eliminated. However, this
does not necessarily reflect the number of people who will lose their jobs. Through attrition
(retirements, voluntary leaves) we hope to retain as many quality staff as possible.
 

Q: Will BPS employee’s compensation be impacted?
 

A: Yes
 

Q: Can you explain what the consolidation of adult and alternative education mean?
 

A: Certain aspects of the program will be combined to maximize staffing and space and reduce costs associated with operating two distinct programs.
 

Q: Why isn’t cutting adult education being considered?
 

A: Adult education is funded through what is referred to as categorical dollars. This funding can only be used to educate adult learners. If the program were cut, the funding would also be cut.