Budget message from the superintendent
THE MISSION OF THE ANCHORAGE SCHOOL DISTRICT is to educate all students for success in life. I have committed to support this mission to the best of my ability and do so with the available resources and funds in an accountable and transparent manner.
The ASD budget development is a complex and layered public process.
Independent audits are conducted annually evaluating financial and accounting practices, providing detailed information about district revenues and expenditures.
In addition to these audits, we publically review and report our finances throughout the year.
As part of this practice, two weeks ago my administration completed a fiscal analysis of the first quarter of this school year in which the district came in under budget by about 3 percent, or $2 million on average, in each month of the quarter.
By the end of the year, we project it will add up to $22 million, however the district does not have that money readily available. Instead, approximately $2 million of unexpended funds are accruing on a monthly basis.
If jobs are filled, or senior educators are hired rather than those newer to the profession, less of the projected total will be available.
In essence, there is no hard and fast surplus in the budget, but by doing a fiscal analysis early in the process, we are able to identify where there may be savings, so we can plan responsibly.
Although we are only in the second quarter of the year, the results of this thorough and early analysis of our current budget
highlights the need for immediate discussion and planning, as the 2015-16 school year budget will be approved by the school board in less than three months. Based on recent information from the analysis, we essentially have three options to consider. 1) We can revise the current year’s budget and expend our funds on ongoing operations. 2) We can designate funds for one-time purchases or targeted projects. 3) We can continue with our current spending practices and capture these funds to address next year’s projected budget deficits.
We must continue to deploy our resources for the greatest benefit to our students and schools while being mindful of where we are headed.
The district’s financial outlook for the 2015-16 school year estimates a multi-million dollar budget gap due to inflation. As a result, we project having to reduce our current work force by 200 positions. Even with that proposed reduction of staff, we would still face the challenge of filling those positions that currently remain unfilled.
Our conscientious business practices and the inability to fill some key positions provide us an opportunity to continue to be good stewards of public funds and avoid position eliminations that will negatively impact our ability to support students next year.
With that in mind, I will work with the school board to use the majority of unexpended funds to hold off staff reductions, which would otherwise be needed in order to balance next year’s budget.
As the superintendent, I will continue to have open conversations about the district’s budget and how we utilize our funds to best support our students and schools. I invite the community to offer input on the process through attending board meetings or submitting feedback on the ASD website.
First Quarter Budget Review
FY 2014-15 Year End Projections (excludes SOA on-behalf payments)
*Does not include charter school FTE
**Other aggregate salaary accounts include:
Sick Leave Bank
Teachers (elem., sec., voc., ed)
School board notes
ASD has a Teacher Gap, not a Surplus
Anchorage School Board President Eric Croft offers his perspective on the current budget situation in a letter to the community.
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