The potential impact of cutting next year’s Davenport Community School District budget by $3.2 million became apparent Monday night in a series of reductions offered by Superintendent Art Tate.
During a lengthy school board meeting, Tate made recommendations that included:
- Offering an early retirement incentive that would save the district a projected $980,000.
- An insurance holiday with a savings of $2 million. Essentially, the district would not pay premiums to its insurance fund for a month.
- A 5 percent across-the-board reduction for a savings of $120,000.
- A 2 percent salary reduction for 63 administrators totaling $124,000.
Tate also recommended adding one student to each classroom in second through fifth grade districtwide for a savings of $300,000 and eliminating all paid conditional busing, which would save the district $50,000.
The board will decide what cuts to make when it approves the budget at its April 8 meeting.
Marsha Tangen, chief financial officer for the district, said the district had received notice from the state Department of Education that its unspent fund balance had the potential to go into the red, which is why the cuts are necessary.
In addition, the district still does not know how much allowable growth, or per-pupil spending increase, will be set by the Iowa Legislature.
The current Senate plan calls for 4 percent allowable growth while the House wants 2 percent.
The district is building its budget around 2 percent allowable growth. However, the district will have to make further budget cuts if allowable growth less than that.
To address the uncertainty in state funding, the district’s Resource Allocation Committee recommended that the district cut $3.25 million per year for the next five years to make sure the budget stays in the black.
The committee, which is made up of 25 representatives of the school district and the community, recommended several budget reductions and other areas of study.
One such recommendation by the committee is to outsource nursing, janitorial and other positions. The board has not yet to direct Tate to do a study on the issue.
However, several students and community members spoke out against the recommendation during Monday’s meeting.
Ty Cutkomp, an AFSCME representative, told the board Monday night that outsourcing positions “is the wrong option.”
“They perform quality work that benefit district families,” he told the board.
Joshua Beasley, an area coach, said that eliminating custodians would have an impact on after-school sporting programs.
“Please let us keep our custodians at our schools for us ... we love them,” he told the board.
In other business, the board approved hiring CSO Architects of Indianapolis, Ind., to design a new pool and auditorium at Central High School. The projects are estimated to cost about $21 million.
Board members Nikki DeFauw and Patt Zamora voted against the move.
The board also granted a $169,400 contract to Geisler Brothers Company of Dubuque for a partial roof replacement at Jackson Elementary School.