School district budget cuts are taking shape

/ 29 March 2012 / jennifer

Nathan Hansen, Farmington Independent, March 29, 2012 –

The Farmington School Board has started to talk in more detail about plans to address an expected $1.29 million shortfall in its 2012-13 budget.

At a Monday night workshop, elementary, middle and high school principals outlined packages of budget reductions they expect to make away from the classroom. So far, at least, those proposals lean much more heavily on reductions in several areas than they do on the elimination of individual positions.

“We knew we had some serious budget cuts ahead of us,” Farmington Elementary School principal Ben Januschka said Monday. “We wanted to make sure we kept those as far away from the classroom as possible.”

The district also plans to make about $580,000 in cuts that will affect class size.

All told, the district is planning roughly $650,000 in what it calls non-class size staff reductions. On a per-school basis, the biggest chunk of those will come at Farmington High School, which expects to make $196,058 in reductions. The district’s two middle schools are together expected to make $186,669 in reductions and the elementary schools are expected to cut $267,273.

The reductions look similar at all levels. All include reduced hours and work days for some clerical staff, nurses and custodians. All three levels also include a $12,000 reduction in the district’s contribution toward a police liaison officer, a move that would reduce the number of liaison officers in the district from two to one.

The cuts also will affect the schools’ media centers, educational assistants in the district’s special needs programs and a one-time reduction made possible because 2012 is a Leap Year, making the 2012-13 budget year one day shorter.

At the middle school level, the cuts include $5,214 for a choir accompanist and a crossing guard Dodge Middle School principal Barb Duffrin said is left over from when the district’s two middle schools were next door to each other and generated a lot of traffic at the start and end of the day.

High school reductions include $22,394 for a hall monitor, a $14,588 reduction tied to the reduction of contact days for counselors and $12,473 for a reduction in the school’s chemical dependency program.

Exact details of the cuts will not be clear until the district works through the impact of contract language. Finance director Carl Colmark plans to bring a more detailed plan back to the board in April.