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Financial Landscape for District 145 is Under Review

Update 11-2-09

by Bill Heimann

November 02, 2009

As you know, the state of Nebraska is facing a difficult financial situation. At the November 2, 2009 Board of Education meeting, I reviewed the state aid received by District 145, the NCLB (No Child Left Behind) federal funds, and the ARRA (federal stimulus) funds, and how those funds will be used.

Click here to view the chart that displays this information
To summarize, the message that I want this chart to convey is this:
Challenging financial times are ahead for school districts, and District 145 will likely be receiving significantly less help from state and federal sources in 2010-11. 

With the help of district staff and the administrative team, I am working on a plan to help our district utilize our resources more efficiently, so we are prepared for the financial challenges that face our district. Part of that process is simply an awareness of how district funds are currently being spent. Over 80% of our budget each year is personnel costs (salaries and benefits) or roughly $13,500,000 this year. Most of our costs are fixed expenses. One example of fixed costs is substitute teacher costs. For first six weeks of school (August and September), the 138 teachers in the district have used a total of 130 days of sick time, 15.5 personal days, 13 bereavement days, 19 professional development days, 27 days of absence for school activities, for a total of 204.54 days of leave. The total cost paid for substitutes was $20,559 for the first six weeks of the year. Our teachers are very conscientious and judicious when using their leave time, it is merely another cost in our budget that must be accounted for. Another example, during 2008-09, district utility costs were nearly $694,897. For the first quarter of 2009-10, our utility costs paid thus far are $135,981. 

How can we be proactive as we face these challenges? It is more complicated than simply remembering to turn off lights when they are not in use, keep exteriors closed, and not propped open to reduce heating and cooling costs.

The administrative team is compiling a list for future needs/wants. We will identify costs, and assign priorities for each building/department; then start to compile that information as a district. Expenditures will continue to reflect priorities, and be focused on improving student learning.

 We are in the process of converting forms into electronic documents, and setting up a communication system that is more paperless, asking parents and patrons to visit the website for those who have access. Our total budget for paper is $25,610.Many forms are on the website already, for parents and staff. This continues to be a work in progress. This will also reduce postage costs.

We have tremendous support from our communities, and have faced difficult financial times in the past, and we will rise to the challenge in this current economic environment. As our plan continues to develop, we welcome any ideas and/or suggestions to help us keep our focus on providing an outstanding education to the students of District 145.

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