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12:41 PM Tue, Sept. 18th

PUSD board hears budget reduction scenarios

The Prescott Unified School District Governing Board voted Tuesday not to reduce employee salaries.

The governing board did not make any budget cuts, but in preparation for that decision, during its May 5 meeting, the board asked Superintendent Kevin Kapp to prepare information on budget cuts that would not include salary reductions.

At the Tuesday meeting, Kapp presented the three budget reduction scenarios that did not include salary reductions.

All three scenarios included about $2 million in budget reduction and each started with a recommendation of $90,000 in administrative cuts.

The administrative cuts in all three scenarios include the elimination of the preschool director and paying the curriculum coordinator salary with Title II money.

The administrative team is recommending those cuts before any other budget reduction measures.

Superintendent Kevin Kapp said named five reasons he feels comfortable enough to make the recommendation: The district experienced a one percent student growth this year; there has been no increase in health benefit premiums; the district is not part of the state's excess utilities program; the district does not receive desegregation money; and the district does not participate in the state's career ladder program.

Because PUSD has not participated in the state's excess utility, desegregation or career ladder programs, funding changes at the state will not affect the district's budget.

In addition to administrative cuts, Scenario A includes additional new cuts that include $60,000 in the reduction of soft capital and the use of $50,000 from the Educators Benefit Trust reserves.

New recommendations in Scenario B include the relocation or closing of Northpoint Expeditionary Learning Academy. Although this does not include cutting any teachers, it does include an $185,000 reduction in administration and support staff costs.

Scenario C starts with moving staff cuts at NELA, Miller Valley, Granite Mountain and Washington from Tier I cuts. This would save the district $175,000.

Before moving into Tier I cuts, each of the scenarios include reducing the number of school nurses by about 50 percent, with an estimated savings of $70,000.

Scenario A and B includes Tier I cuts totaling $792,835, and Scenario C includes Tier I cuts of $617,835.

Before moving to $413,602 in Tier II cuts, Scenario A includes the restructuring/relocating of NELA at a savings of $150,000 to $250,000; and increasing class size by 2 students at a savings of $150,000 to $500,000.

Scenario B would only include increased class size, while Scenario C includes the increase in class size and the restructure/relocation of NELA.

Board President Dr. Andy Newton asked why there is such a large range in the increase in class size savings.

Kapp said it depends on the focus of the increase: K-5, K-8 or K-12.

Human Resources Director Dr. Chris Reynolds said that in addition to the 180 employees receiving reduction in force letters, the Tier I cuts would affect employees whose job responsibilities are altered or involve a furlough; or those whose position is eliminated but not RIF'd.

"We refer to these employees with more than three years with the district as 'golden.' In Tier I, there are 21 employees, four certified and 17 classified," Reynolds said.

The golden employees may replace employees that received RIF letters.

Reynolds said the district has received a number of resignations. These, he said, would allow people who received a RIF letter to return to work.

Reynolds said the Tier II cuts include 14 "golden" positions, one certified and 13 classified.

Reynolds said employees within the golden group might not remain in their current position, but may be assigned to other duties.

The personnel director said that since Jan. 1, the district has received 13 certified resignations and 14 classified resignations.

Kapp said that the budget reduction process is "agonizing. But, with budget cutting, the longer we wait, the better the situation."