This paper provides an overview of the need for the Butler School to reduce its annual budget by $1,000,000 in order to meet the mandate of the community that the school should “live within its means.” The recommended reductions are based on eliminating extraneous programs, staff positions, administrative services, and supply funds. Areas that are not reduced include programs that support the humanities, athletics, science and technology, as these areas are deemed too important to the formation and development of students’ characters and skills, which are needed to ensure success in their ensuing years. Letters to a state legislator and to the community are attached in the Appendix.
Keywords: school funding, budget reduction, administration reduction, school budgeting
As Butler Elementary School has been tasked with eliminating $1,000,000 from its annual budget, there are a number of cuts that the school will be required to make in order to meet the desire of the community that the school “live within its means.” In some ways, this means that the school will have to do away with certain extraneous programs and positions that, while helpful in the overall scheme of things, do not negatively impact the school’s ability to function by their removal. This paper will present the line item cuts recommended to allow Butler to meet its target reductions and will provide an explanation as to why these cuts are recommended as opposed to other programs and positions.
Budget Overview and Recommended Reductions
There are a number of cuts that could be made to allow the school to meet its target; however, the elementary school is only capable of providing so many reductions and these would not be enough to meet the $1,000,000 target. Therefore, it is also necessary to make reductions from the middle school budget as well. For that reason, a total K-8 recommendation for reductions is here provided in the following chart.
Cost of Replacement
Line item reductions from Option One
Eliminate middle-school assistant principal position; add full-time office staff
Reduce annual supply allocation from $575 to $400 per teacher
Reduce hard copies of formal comms--replace w/ e-copies
Reduce administrative supplies annual allocation by 50
Reduce psychologist supplies annual allocation from $2,075 to $1,275
Parent fees: have parents pay for field trips, bus, and acitivty
Grades 5-8 band program: parents pay for band competitions, fees
Increase price of yearbook to include stipend, printing, and binding
Have parents pay for student magazines--add to textbook fee
Student competitions: eliminate Gifted Program competitions
Line item reductions from Option Two
Eliminate learning-center assistant (rely on volunteers, closing during breaks)
Cuts have been recommended at the district level, the elementary school level and the middle school level. Cuts have included administrative reductions, supply fund allocation reductions, program reductions, technology reductions and staff reductions. Without compromising the integrity of the school’s educational quality, these cuts are meant to enable the school to live within its means while still providing top-notch service and educational opportunities. Students and faculty may notice minor inconveniences in terms of hours of when the science lab is open or the amount of assistance available in classrooms—but with time adjustments will be made to enable these changes to be accepted with positivity.
The financial recommendations made herein will not adversely affect the instructional program provided to students. Assistants have been eliminated from the grade 1 level and the kindergarten level as well as the special education classroom—but the main teachers remain, and with the main teachers implementing the Montessori method to help students learn on their own and advance on their own at these levels, volunteers (parents of students) will be asked to help as is consistent with this method (Mangal, 2007). In short, student performance is not expected to be negatively impacted by these reductions. In fact, those areas in the middle school that are some of the most popular and most formative—including sports, band, art, music, family consumer science, and applied technology—have not been touched at all. The reason is that our organization believes strongly in the formative quality of these areas, as Turnnidge, Côté and Hancock (2014) and Hatfield, Montana and Deffenbaugh (2006) have shown.
Management of the Organization
The administration and supervision of students will only be marginally affected. The administration will be affected in terms of committee organization dedication to improving areas of instruction. However, with instruction already at a high level of quality at the school, these committees have a somewhat superfluous quality that will not be greatly missed at this point. In the future, they may need to be revived—but for now the school administration can do without them. As for supervision of students, only the grade 1 level and kindergarten level along with the special education classroom will suffer—but with the assistance of volunteer parents to fill the gap, this reduction can be more than made up for.
These financial recommendations relate to the organizational vision of Butler in that they maintain the school’s dedication to the formative type of education rooted in community values that will help strengthen the character of students so that they can succeed in the years ahead. The humanities, athletics, band, science and technology will remain largely untouched—and that means Butler will be there to help guide students in some of the most formative ways possible. For other areas, where assistant positions are being cut, parents or other members of the community can collaborate with the school through a volunteer service to come in and help the main teachers in the younger grades, in the science lab, and in the special education classroom to maintain order, provide additional supervision, and assist in the educative process. Indeed, this is a perfect opportunity for the community and school to come together to promote a safe and efficient facility. More on this topic can be found in the “Letter to the Community” located in Appendix B.
My combined impartiality and sensitivity to student diversity in preparing the budget, including attention given to special education and NCLB disaggregated groups, was to some degree subordinated by the needs of the school to live within its means. However, acknowledging that student diversity is important, I have left language and speech programs intact, because I know how critical it is for at-risk students and English as Second Language learners to have full access to all the support they require in order to excel based on what researchers like Dashwood and Son (2017) have been able to show. For the special education classroom, I am hoping that the good will of the community will be enough that the gaps in assistance can be filled by volunteers from the community.
Overall, the recommended reductions to the school’s budget focus on trimming the fat, so to speak—cutting supply fund allocations where possible, reducing administrative staff where efficacious, and relying on the involvement of parents and….....
Dashwood, A., & Son, J. B. (2017). Academic language support for at-risk students: REACHing further. Journal of Academic Language and Learning, 11(1), A58-A70.
Hatfield, C., Montana, V., & Deffenbaugh, C. (2006). Artist/art educator: Making sense of identity issues. Art Education, 59(3), 42-47.
Mangal, S. K. (2007). Educating Exceptional Children: An Introduction in Special Education. Delhi: PHI Learning.
Stanford. (2018). Landmark U.S. cases. Retrieved from https://edeq.stanford.edu/sections/landmark-us-cases-related-equality-opportunity-education
Turnnidge, J., Côté, J., & Hancock, D. J. (2014). Positive youth development from sport to life: Explicit or implicit transfer?. Quest, 66(2), 203-217.