CSC Minutes 2/1/16

CSC Minutes 2/1/16
February 1, 2016 GWHS


Kittie Hook, Barbara Chin, Mark Ferrandino, Erik Johnson, Andrew Ammon, Mary Jo Minogue, Angela Danley, Jose Martinez, Renelle Weightman, Kevin Vicente, Jay Clapper, Paul Knickerbocker, Scott Lessard, Kathryn Swan, Bryn Learned, David Wollins.






$800,000 over- Budget | Erik Johnson, Executive Director

(Questions from the CSC along with their answers from Erik, Andrew, and Mark)

*All of the following questions were asked by various members of the George Washington Collaborative School Committee, they were all answered by a combination of Mark Ferrandino, Erik Johnson, and Andrew Ammon from the DPS budget office*

How did DPS budget office come up with the projected enrollment number of 1305?
The DPS budget office looks at enrollment trends, housing trends, and lots of other analysis that goes into determining the number.

George had a hiring freeze last year because of a projection mistake, have you learned from this?
The budget office is taking into account what happened last year plus patterns and other things. There is a process where schools can take a loan if the school thinks they are going to have higher numbers, but this is very risky.

George’s budget was never changed by DPS even after they lowered our projection numbers (meaning admin. thought we would be given the extra money for higher a higher enrollment than what was projected budget after they changed the numbers, but we didn’t because they never lowered George’s budget to fit the lower projection). Scott and Jose want to be fiscally responsible, but they were given different numbers from what the real budget was. Scott and Jose made budget decisions based on money they were told they had, but didn’t actually have. Where does the DPS budget office think this deficit came from?
Additional carry over that existed last year that doesn’t exist this year, as well as a 200k overrun of budget from last year, creating that swing from year to year. George had three years of budget assistance and George will no longer receive that.

Where is the money for the “One George Budget Assistance” item? Was this allocated to the principle before Mr. Lessard and Mr. Martinez?
George was given $100,000 in One George money. Budget assistance is what is outside of the formulated funding for the per pupil money. It gets allocated to the school’s budget as a one-time “gift” that doesn’t have to be repaid.

The process would be to request that budget assistance from DPS. If George requests budget assistance and we get that one-year then George is put in the same spot again the next year (without budget assistance). GW would have to decide to either end the program or cut money from the budget.

The last two years the 100K that was allocated for One George, could the CSC see what that number was actually used for? Can Mark, Erik, or Andrew explain if it isn’t the budget assistance why are we left with such a large deficit?
Over the last three years enrollment at George has declined by 120 students. That means George’s formula funding (per pupil funding) went down $578,760 over the past 4 years. We are projected to be at 1305. DPS has a process for a school to question and change those projections. George can open up a loan to say that we are going to beat that projection by X number of students, but there is an inherent risk in doing this.

What were enrollment numbers in the past for George?
For 2013-2014: we were projected at 1463 and came in at 1425-down 38
For 2014-2015: we were projected at 1329 and came in at 1373 -up 44
For 2015-2016: we were projected at 1363 and came in at 1358 -down 5
The DPS per pupil funding has increased every year in order to keep pace with the cost of a teacher salary and inflation. Since the enrollment number has come down at George then our overall budget has come down with it.

Two of the solutions is to increase our projected enrollment and borrow money from DPS, but is there any way we can increase our per pupil funding?
No, it is approved by the Board of Education. It is a policy perspective and that is opening up something that would have to be done for all the schools. A change in the formula for per pupil funding would have to be applied to all the schools, not just George. It can’t be done just on the George level. The ways schools get extra money is through additional funds not the formula. The route to take would be the district accountability committee; these changes would have to be made across the entire district.

Where is the additional $800,000 deficit in the George budget coming from?
Enrollment going down and FTE is where this comes from. Staffing has been effectively flat. It has removed that 125k of under run and then eaten up an overrun last year. With enrollment declines, George doesn’t have the same ability to support the staff. George is considered overstaffed for the number of students it has.

It seems like the district has continued to give George the budget assistance, why not this year?
It is partly that but it also plays into the fact that there are problems on the macro level for the state of Colorado, which means problems for all of DPS. The district is cutting ($20 million) from their budget as well. Reasons why there have been these cuts on the DPS level:

  1. 92 million of a negative factor, paying TABOR refunds
  2. Slow down in the growth rates (declining number of students)
  3. Birth rates are down because of the recession
  4. Home prices are higher which means fewer kids in the district
  5. When we have less free and reduced kids you get less per pupil funding

Is there any way for the number of programs that are supported at George to play a role in our budget?
That would again have to be a request for budget assistance. However the reality of the situation is that it is grim, DPS has seen the consolidation of programs and some schools have been hit very hard.

Does the overage that George has need to be paid back?
Yes, it is the same as having an overrun but instead George will need to pay it back. The things that are adjusted are any carry forward, payback, and secondary activities.

Since George had the discrepancy last year (with the mistake on enrollment numbers and carry forward money), could that be taken into consideration this year when asking for budget assistance?
George can make the case with whatever facts you want. Our projections for the budget and what we got was aligned.

Martinez: It seems as if we have to fix the wrong that has existed over the last several years. Our reluctance to take the budget assistance is that we are going to be in the same position that we are right now next year.

Mark: Budget assistance is very good for specific programs that are short term or a bridge if you have a significant drop in enrollment.

Does the 4.9 teacher FTE include our teacher leaders? Is there a line item in the budget to support this?
No, this is no longer charged to our expenses because the district has picked up this cost. However we have to pick up the cost for the loss of that teacher in the classroom. The 40% of time that the teacher isn’t in the classroom that is paid for centrally, but the other 60% when they are in the classroom comes from George’s budget. Some schools have decided to hire that FTE for whatever that teacher’s split time is in and out of the class. The time that the teacher isn’t in the class is picked centrally. For a 0.4 release time that equates to about $7,000 per teacher that falls on the school budget.

Does DPS have an ideal FTE to student ratio?
For a school like George it is hard, and the best they can do is to compare it to East High School. They looked at the number of admins, teachers, clericals, and money per pupil. East has 284 kids per admin. George has 272. East has 1 licensed teacher to every 18 students. George has 1 teacher to every 17 students. East has one clerical to every 309 students. George has 1 clerical to every 272 students. East has 1 ProTech to every 413 students. George has 1 ProTech to every 340 students. ProTech is tech support, site assessment leader, communications specialist, etc.

*Based on economy of scale*

Are there any other insights that Mark, Erik, and Andrew can provide?}
If Jose, Scott, and the CSC do believe that George’s enrollment numbers will be higher, than what were projected, then take out the loan from DPS. Erik and Andrew can both help to ensure that this loan can be taken out.

Martinez: We have to come back to the table and have a discussion, employee groups across the school have been targeted for elimination and now if we get extra money they are going to want positions in their departments back, that needs to be taken into consideration.

What school is comparable to GW?
Demographically TJ, DSST, and DSA. Not by the programs offered, but by demographics.

The IB program would cost more to run outside of the school. We are forced to decide between our most at risk kids and our most enlightened kids at George for who gets the budget, and historically we have decided to not do either well. How can George improve this
Right or wrong the decision by the district was to fund schools regardless of the type of program they have. IB costs more than a general population. If a school wants to fund this then they have to figure it out individually. It isn’t a bad idea to go for a loan but Mark recommends being reasonable and not aspirational. It didn’t go unnoticed for the turn out from George at the board meeting, when looking at budget assistance and financial support this should work in our favor when these decisions are being made. The efforts that were put in will go a long way. Todd Mackintosh can make recommendations that the district add extra weight depending on the program. These can’t be adjusted for just George but would again be across the district.

When would George hear back about the board’s decision?
By Friday when decisions are made.

What percentage of schools receive budget assistance?
Probably about a third of schools receive this aid.

The allocations that George has for FTE, is that reasonable for 1340 students?
Erik will work with his team in order to get an answer to this.

What committee is Todd Mackintosh on?
There is an accountability committee for the entire district. Todd and Erik go through the entire budget on a very detailed level. Two people from George sit on the committee.

How should the CSC and George convey this message to our community?
Erik can provide some information about the macroeconomic factors that play a role in this on the DPS and state level. This would include information on where George sits in the big picture as well as some of the other factors that aren’t George specific whatsoever.

Is there any way to make it so that these budget cuts aren’t such so shocking in the future?
The budget office, Erik in particular, is working to create a better budget process so that we can avoid these shocking budget announcements. This new process will be in place next year. Erik gave the CSC his word that he would take responsibility and action to create this change so that it is in place for next year’s budgeting period.

One of the districts core values is accountability. Do Erik, Mark, or Andew have a suggestion for how we can hold DPS accountable for this?
It is a very valid point; one problem is the level of turnover on the district and school level. There are also things that come in from the academic side that are promised can’t always be budgeted. DPS is working on better communications. One suggestion is making sure that while these conversations are being had that these conversations are well documented. Mark, Erik, and Andrew want to make sure that they are living up to their commitments as a district, and thus it isn’t fair for the school to plan for something and then be told that this isn’t possible. They will improve their visibility, it has already gotten better, but they still don’t believe that it is adequate.

One year of funding the One George program doesn’t seem like it is enough, we have started to create a more positive environment and the centerpiece is the advisory program. If everyone who has been working on One George wants GW to succeed, we have to fund this. Is there anything the budget office can do to help us with this?
It is a very valid point. Best person to talk to would be Greta Martinez and request this.

Regarding the email telling Mr. Lessard not to ask for anymore budget assistance, is this true?
They will go back and check and look back at this. Things can be changed. The message should not be to try and apply again. Recommend completing a budget assistance form.

What does Erik mean that IB costs a lot of money?
There is additional money required to run an IB program. It costs a great deal of money, but DPS is 100% behind the program. The district has made the decision that all schools will get the same amount of money regardless of the programs there. George can show the district that by supporting all of programs we are actually saving the district money by wrapping all of these programs into one school rather than separating them into multiple schools.

The rest of the agenda was tabled until March







Next Meeting: March 7, 2016