Clinton-Massie school officials have told the community to pass their $1.6 million per year school levy or expect more cuts.
Another tax increase will not solve the fundamental problems that continue to drive school district expenses higher and our property taxes with them. If we continue on this path, our schools will be back again asking for another tax increase because, despite declining enrollment, they continue to spend more than taxpayers have authorized. There is nothing on the present course to suggest anything different.
To help end the madness, here are several budget reducing steps Clinton-Massie can take to eliminate unnecessary expenses and reclaim waning citizen support for our schools. Following this program won’t diminish services to kids, won’t increase fees to parents, preserves jobs of school employees, and assures taxpayers that the maximum amount funds go toward educating kids. It also won’t lower property taxes, but hopefully will curb expenses so that future tax requests align with the rate of inflation and changes the citizens see to their own household income.
Steps To Eliminate The Budget Deficit
- Due to declining enrollments, maintain personnel and benefits expenditures at 2017 levels. Enrollment in the Clinton-Massie school district has been declining. With declining enrollment, expenses should be less. Maintaining expenditures at current levels would allow for inflationary increases. (saves $400,000)
- Reduce salary increases. The contract between the Clinton-Massie teacher’s union and the school board expired in July 2017. Salary increases are the primary driver for school levies. Last year, the previous contract increased teacher’s salary by 2% and provided step increases of 4.2% to 5.% for a total salary increase of 6.2% to 7.2%. Since the contract has lapsed, the district can negotiate more reasonable terms. However, if taxpayers approve the November 2017 levy, the parties will have sufficient funds to continue the current very generous arrangement. (saves $200,000 to $400,000)
- Ask employees to pay a larger portion of their health insurance premium. Currently, employees pay only 5% to 15% of the premium with taxpayers picking up the balance. Most employers, are requiring employees to participate to a much larger extent. (saves $300,000 – $400,000)
- Consider a heath insurance consortium. Other school districts have achieved a significant savings in health insurance costs by joining a consortium. ($300,000)
- Due to declining enrollment, keep purchased services at 2017 expenditure levels. Expenses should decrease when enrollment declines. Maintaining 2017 expenditure levels allows for inflationary increase. (saves $60,000)
- Do not start all-day Kindergarten. Research shows no benefit to all day kindergarten and it is not required. (saves $200,000)