Budget reduction plan chosen

/ 21 March 2012 / jennifer

Carrie McDermott, Wahpeton Daily News, March 21, 2012 –

Breckenridge School Board was presented with three options for reducing the budget

The Breckenridge School Board accepted a recommendation Monday from the budget finance committee for an approximate $147,000 budget deficit for fiscal year 2012-13.

Last month the board was presented with three options for reducing the budget, ranging from $383,000 to $250,000. The board requested time to consider the options.

During a finance committee meeting last week, the group wanted to find ways to reduce the deficit even further.

“We wanted to come up with a more tolerable number,” said Superintendent Rick Bleichner.

Using an enrollment base of 688 students leaves the district with an approximate budget deficit of $250,000. A secretary reconfiguration would save $20,000, half-time health aide reduction would save $10,000 and a custodial reconfiguration would save the district $5,000. A supplies reduction of 10 percent, including classroom and athletic, would give an $18,000 savings and a potential transportation reduction could save another $50,000, bringing the total down to $147,000. Para professional positions may also be reduced to lower the deficit.

Bleichner told the board he feels the $147,000 is a soft number and it could be lower by the end of the school year.

“This year we started with a $120,000 deficit spend, and currently we’re at $21,000 to the good, that’s a $141,000 swing, that’s positive for us,” Bleichner said.

In other action, the board approved moving to a paperless payroll and direct deposit system at no cost to the district, to make the payroll process more efficient.

The board also approved the use of an automated substitute placement and absence management system (AESOP) for the district. The cost of the web-based system is $3 per month per employee needing a substitute and $1.50 per month per employee not needing a substitute. The annual fee is based upon 10 months of service, although the district can use it for 12 months. There is also an implementation and training cost of $1,500. The agreement can be cancelled at any time with a 30-day advance notice.

Employee absences can be tracked through the online system and requests can be made for substitute teachers. Substitutes can be proactive on the system, and personalize their availability for certain days, classes or schools. School secretaries will monitor the system and run reports to verify classes are covered.

The AESOP system also integrates with the paperless payroll system, Business Manager Neil Kusler said.