Budget Task Force Update
The Paradise Valley Unified School District Governing Board met to consider final recommendations as a result of the Budget Task Force process. Following weeks of discussion, feedback, and considerations, a vote was held December 8.
Three parts to the recommendation were presented to the Board.
Recommendation Part A
An amendment to the final recommendation removed an increase of the class size staffing ratio (by 1 student) as an option, was approved by the Board.
The amended final recommendation from the Budget Task Force was approved.
Reduce employee work schedules by one day (furlough, not reducing student instructional time)
Reduce custodial hours by two hours per day
Non-personnel department and school budget reduction of five percent
Reduce Social Emotional Learning positions at the secondary level (12 FTE)*
Reduce elementary accounting clerks (14 FTE)*
Reduce College and Career specialist contract days
Eliminate Hannover (surveying services)
*Human Resources will work with impacted staff to find alternative placement options within the district. FTE, or full-time equivalent, refers to staffing hours that make up the equivalent of a full-time position.
Recommendation Part B
Increased compensation package for PVSchools employees, including the following, was approved.
PVSEA - New salary schedule resulting in an average increase of 6% with a minimum increase of 3%. Including one step movement for all employees, an additional $250 per band for longevity, and the addition of a 4-6 year band for longevity at $250. This includes additional pay to the base salary. The amount of increase to pay for each individual employee depends on their unique step and grade. In January, every ESP employee will be notified regarding their new hourly rate, grade, step, and longevity addendum.
PVEA - 2% increase to base salary and $835 increase to each level of Priority Service Credit. This represents an average increase of 3% with a minimum increase of 2%
Executive Support Staff (Six hourly support professionals who are consistently treated the same as the PVSEA bargaining group) - 6% increase to base salary.
Administrators - 2% increase to base salary.
In an announcement made to the Board during the meeting, Dr. Troy Bales, Superintendent of PVSchools, committed his 2% increase payout for the second semester to the PV Schools Education Foundation. Pending the Board's approval of the recommendation.
The timeline for the distribution of compensation includes the following.
A one-time retention incentive to be provided to all current employees in January. The amount each employee receives will be approximately half the amount of ongoing addition to annual pay.
Beginning in January, employees receive an adjustment to ongoing pay as described in the previous two slides.
Beginning in the 2023-24 school year, each work calendar will be reduced by one day of pay. Salaries will be adjusted accordingly.
As the presentation to the Board noted, the calculation of the one-time retention incentive for employees currently making less than $13.85 per hour will be based on the difference between their new rate and $13.85.
Recommendation Part C
Additional recommendations that included reducing 1% of Administrative FTE (from the district office) and adding an additional 5% of District Additional Assistance allocation (DAA) to the Maintenance & Operations (M&O) budget was approved.
For more information and to watch the presentation and discussion of this recommendation, visit the PVSchools YouTube channel and click on the “PVSchools Governing Board” playlist.
Original Story | November 30, 2022
Over my 35-year career, this post-pandemic era is by far the most challenging. Like a puzzle, bringing all the pieces together is difficult, even for those who are most familiar with how Arizona public schools are funded and operated. Explaining the complexities of public education funding can baffle even the most astute executives from banking to healthcare. With that being said, it is important to provide our community with factual information surrounding this new challenge for PVSchools.
This is certainly a challenge, but it’s one that the PVSchools community can get through together.
In school year 2020-21, the district (like all districts in the state of Arizona) received the Enrollment Stabilization Grant (ESG) from the Governor's Office. The purpose of this grant was to allow districts to maintain their staffing, despite what we believed to be a temporary loss of enrollment. The grant effectively filled in the gap for what districts lost in state-provided per pupil funding due to the decrease in enrollment. Districts are required by law to provide annual contracts to certified staff, so ESG effectively allowed districts to maintain their commitments, allowing staff to continue educating and supporting students through that time. We in PVSchools used the ESG as intended, covering costs that had been planned for and committed to, prior to the pandemic.
When planning for school year 2021-22, the expiration of the ESG wasn’t accounted for (expenditures that were covered by the ESG were not planned for in the M&O budget after the grant expired). This means that we had continuing expenses that were no longer being covered by the grant, but also not planned as an expense out of our Maintenance and Operations budget. Making the challenge more complex is the fact that over the past three years we have lost nearly 3,000 students causing a loss in revenue (per pupil funding). As a result, this caused over expenditures that needed to be addressed, something that is commonly referred to as a “budget shortfall.” Had students returned as anticipated, revenues would have covered the unplanned expenses.
The district confirmed the accounting error in mid-May 2022 and immediately informed the Governing Board, discussing the over expenditures at the June 2022 Governing Board meetings. Had the expiration of the ESG been accounted for while planning the 2021-22 school year, we would have had to make significant cuts to the budget at that time.
The total amount of the budget shortfall was nearly $13.8M, which equates to approximately 4% of the PVSchools budget. As a result, due to a good history of fiscal responsibility, we were able to use available funds to address the challenge in the 2021-22 school year. Since the over expenditures were ongoing costs, we also needed a solution to solve the shortfall moving beyond 2021-22.
So in June 2022, the district assembled a Budget Task Force (made up of representatives from various stakeholders throughout the district) to address the issue for the 2022-23 school year, as well as moving forward to stop this challenge from becoming an ongoing issue.
Also in June 2022, the Governor signed a budget that provided significant increases to education budgets across the state. For PVSchools, the increased revenues matched the continuing expenditures from the Enrollment Stabilization Grant (ESG). Meaning that this additional revenue could have been used to address the shortfall, however, we believe in following our collaborative process, so we took this information back to the Budget Task Force.
We encouraged the Budget Task Force to consider using part of this year's additional revenue to provide raises to our current staff, with the remainder being used to reduce the budget shortfall. The Budget Task Force then explored possible reductions to provide additional compensation increases.
Nearly 85% of the PVSchools Maintenance and Operations budget is used for salaries and benefits. This means that any reductions out of this fund may impact positions. And, while we are confident that impacted staff will continue their employment in other positions, ultimately, these decisions do impact people. These are not easy discussions and we find ourselves in a situation where no solution is an easy solution.
In mid-November, the Governing Board was provided an update on the Budget Task Force work. And, in December, the Board will have an opportunity to dive deeper into the available options that allow the district the ability to provide raises and continue work to attract and retain highly quality staff.
We will continue to seek input from our stakeholder leaders and provide updates to our stakeholders as we continue toward a solution to this challenge. Many of these discussions will take place in public meetings or study sessions.
My goal is to maximize our existing resources to address the shortfall and to provide additional compensation to our dedicated teachers and support staff who work each and every day to support student success here in paradise.
Troy J. Bales Ed.D.