2012-2013 School Budget

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2012-2013 School Budget

Postby ggkrupp » Tue Dec 06, 2011 9:42 pm

The Merrimack School District Administration presented their proposed 2012-2013 budget at last night's School Board Meeting. The new budget data has been included in my budget trend spreadsheet and can be downloaded at the link below. Budget hearings by the School Board start this Thursday (Dec 8th) so download a copy now and see how the proposed budget stacks up against the last 7 budgets. Use the data to ask questions of your representatives and to follow along with the hearings.

http://home.comcast.net/~eegeek

Also, the official budget proposal is posted on the SAU website in PDF form. Use the link below to download.

http://www.merrimack.k12.nh.us/budget.cfm?subpage=490733
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Re: 2012-2013 School Budget

Postby RBarnes » Wed Dec 07, 2011 9:00 am

Thanks for taking the time to do something like this. I would love to see something similar done with the town's budgets to see how they compare.
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Re: 2012-2013 School Budget

Postby ggkrupp » Wed Dec 07, 2011 12:21 pm

RBarnes wrote:Thanks for taking the time to do something like this. I would love to see something similar done with the town's budgets to see how they compare.



You are welcome Rick. I hope it is as useful to others as it has been to me in understanding the numbers.

As for the town, it probably could be done and would likely be easier than this project was since they do a very good job of posting detailed budget spreadsheets on their website.
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Re: 2012-2013 School Budget

Postby MMK » Thu Dec 08, 2011 9:59 am

I don't mean to hijack your thread Gary, but this relates to the 2012/13 budget so I thought it was appropriate to post here.

A couple of interesting articles in the Telegraph the last few days:

http://www.nashuatelegraph.com/news/942 ... first.html

http://www.nashuatelegraph.com/news/942 ... acher.html

While I am encouraged to see the schools cutting money, are they really doing enough? What's pushing the cuts is lower student enrollment. Let's follow simple math. . . .

$65,000,000 budget divided by 4,250 students = $15,300 per student

If we are down 120 students next year, why aren't we cutting a net reduction of $1.8M from the budget? A $300K reduction doesn't seem like enough. . . .
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Re: 2012-2013 School Budget

Postby JMac1000 » Thu Dec 08, 2011 10:32 am

On the surface I might agree. However, its possible part of the reductions were offset by increases in health care costs or some other large variable expense.
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Re: 2012-2013 School Budget

Postby ggkrupp » Thu Dec 08, 2011 11:40 am

MMK wrote:I don't mean to hijack your thread Gary, but this relates to the 2012/13 budget so I thought it was appropriate to post here.


Not at all ... I think you have valid questions.

Jamie also has a good point in that the budget mapping to student population is not exactly linear. I would say that using data in the spreadsheets I've provided and the budget books provided by the School District is a valuable way to determine what overhead costs are and whether they are reasonable for our District.
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Re: 2012-2013 School Budget

Postby RBarnes » Fri Dec 09, 2011 3:23 pm

MMK wrote:$65,000,000 budget divided by 4,250 students = $15,300 per student

If we are down 120 students next year, why aren't we cutting a net reduction of $1.8M from the budget? A $300K reduction doesn't seem like enough. .


Don't forget that not everything in the budget is directly proportional to the number of students. The electricity used for a light doesn't matter if 10 kids are in the room or 100 kids are in the room. That cost will remain the same.

Also not all costs are proportionate. For instance, it might cost more per student for them to play football over baseball because of the padding needed. Likewise if you compare two students, one who plays sports and does a lot of other activities, his or her per student cost will come out higher then one who doesn't get involved.

Then you have special ed which is a whole different ball game blowing costs out of proportion. I've argued in the past that since the state and federal government creates most of the laws regarding special ed they should also cover 100% of the cost because it creates a burden on local communities but there's not much we can do about that on a local level.
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Re: 2012-2013 School Budget

Postby Jeannine Stergios » Fri Dec 09, 2011 5:41 pm

Rick

We would pay either way because the Feds would need to raise taxes to pay 100% of the Special Ed costs.

I am in the process of reviewing the budget. I haven't finished reviewing yet but when I do I will post my comments here and also send them to the School Board members as well.
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Re: 2012-2013 School Budget

Postby MMK » Fri Dec 09, 2011 5:45 pm

Why does it cost us $15,300 per student to educate, when BG charges $12,600 per student?
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Re: 2012-2013 School Budget

Postby andysinnh » Fri Dec 09, 2011 7:48 pm

MMK wrote:Why does it cost us $15,300 per student to educate, when BG charges $12,600 per student?

Catholic schools like BG and Trinity get endowments from the church plus fundraising via alumni, etc. I remember researching this back when Dennis was talking the same thing a few years ago. You never see the actual "cost", just the tuitiion they need in addition to the other funding...
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Re: 2012-2013 School Budget

Postby ggkrupp » Fri Dec 09, 2011 8:39 pm

andysinnh wrote:Catholic schools like BG and Trinity get endowments from the church plus fundraising via alumni, etc. I remember researching this back when Dennis was talking the same thing a few years ago. You never see the actual "cost", just the tuitiion they need in addition to the other funding...


Besides endowments (which not all private schools have), private schools have a couple of advantages over public schools with respect to budgeting

1 - they don't have to take everyone
2 - they can expel trouble makers
3 - they don't have to deal with as many special needs students
4 - they have fewer Federal & State mandates

Items 1 & 2 help keep their classes orderly because their parents know that attending the school is a privilege, not a right. Teachers like to teach in orderly environments and frankly earn less than their public teacher counter parts in many cases. Items 3 & 4 help to keep their bottom lines more affordable.

I also think that private schools are much more engaged with their customers (the parents) by nature since their tuition receipts depend upon happy parents willing to pay for a private education.
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Re: 2012-2013 School Budget

Postby Jeannine Stergios » Fri Dec 09, 2011 9:43 pm

Gary

I just finished going through the School Budget and I have to say I enjoyed the new Government regulation regarding food temperature probes for food health safety at the cost of $5400
The results will be sent daily to the local Health Inspector and the Dept of Education. OMG!!!
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Re: 2012-2013 School Budget

Postby ggkrupp » Fri Dec 09, 2011 10:45 pm

Jeannine Stergios wrote:Gary

I just finished going through the School Budget and I have to say I enjoyed the new Government regulation regarding food temperature probes for food health safety at the cost of $5400
The results will be sent daily to the local Health Inspector and the Dept of Education. OMG!!!


Jeannine,

I certainly can't speak for the school district but unless I misunderstood the Food Service presentation at the Board on Thursday, I don't think that this is a new regulation. It was made clear that the equipment was not mandatory but rather a method to reduce the amount of manual record keeping that is required by State regulations regarding food temperature reporting. Since staff costs are by far the largest portion of the School Budget, I think a case could be made for efficiencies in staff use with the new equipment. I have a few questions concerning that area that I intend to ask when the BC gets the budget. At this point, I don't have a position on the equipment but in general, I am for leveraging automation and technology if it helps us reduce manpower costs.
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Re: 2012-2013 School Budget

Postby Jeannine Stergios » Sat Dec 10, 2011 1:20 am

Because it's a new expense I naturally assumed it was a new requirement. If the daily report is a requirement by the HACCP how are they complying with it now?
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Re: 2012-2013 School Budget

Postby RBarnes » Mon Dec 12, 2011 9:55 am

Jeannine Stergios wrote:We would pay either way because the Feds would need to raise taxes to pay 100% of the Special Ed costs.


True to a point but if it were on the federal level the costs would be more equally divided among all tax payers.

As it stands now if a town does a good job on special ed and becomes a "magnet" that town ends up getting nailed with higher taxes. It's a double edge sword because you don't want to do a bad job with the kids who need the most help but if you do too good a job your town is the one who ends up paying out the most. I had this same discussion when going over the special ed budget a couple years ago, its almost as if we have a system in place that discourages doing a good job.

Equally dividing out the cost would solve that problem. Towns could do a good job educating special ed children and not worry that if they attract other special needs families it would negatively impact local taxes.
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