On Wednesday, the BOE unanimously approved the 2020-21 Budget at a total cost of $954.7 million. Reductions had to be made to close an almost $90 million deficit.
Since its approval, I've received several questions for clarification, so I'm going to attempt to simplify a few important outcomes from what is a very complex budget. This was my first budget as Board Member, but, I've followed these for some time and this was the most difficult to interpret. I'm told that much of this has to do with the State’s School Funding Transparency initiative to improve equity in funding to our highest needs schools. To the District's credit, many BOE Member questions were transparently answered in detail.
This summary is mine, alone, based on what I believe are critical points and what others have inquired about, mainly pertaining to staffing. It does not nearly represent the entire budget. In addition, some of cuts in staffing in the budget have potential to be restored. For example, I am continuing to pursue restoring a cut of 6 Reading Teachers. Conversely, additional reductions in state aid by the Governor would undoubtedly result in devastating cuts in staff.
1. School Closures
#357 Pathways at East High School will close. "This program will be redesigned to strategically address students in Grades 10 and 11 that are in need of recovering credits throughout ten high schools. The redesign plan will assign two rotations of five teachers at these ten high schools to continue working with students at those sites to recover credits prior to their senior year."
School #66 at North Park, which was phasing out, will close a year early. School 50 remains at North Park and continues to grow into a pre-k to 8 school.
2. Art, Music, PE, etc...
District-wide, there is a slight increase in Art and a reduction of some Music positions. Some of the reduction in Music has to do with school closures and School-Based Budgets:
3. Mental Health Staff
District-wide, there is a slight growth in mental health staff:
4. Coaches and Reading Teachers
There was a reduction of 6.32 Reading Teachers from School-Based Budgets
Overall Coaches are reduced
5. After-school programming is cut district-wide
$2.5 million savings in transportation
6. Central Office hiring freeze
Projected $1 million savings
Those are my highlights. See the 2020-21 Budget for further information. The Executive Summary is a helpful read.
Note again, this survivable budget quickly becomes devastating with further state aid reductions:
Feel free to email me questions at: email@example.com
Buffalo Board of Education