About that $3M shortfall - Coeur d'Alene Press: Local News

About that $3M shortfall

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Posted: Wednesday, January 23, 2013 12:00 am

The Coeur d'Alene School District is now going over a fiscal cliff school systems nationwide began hitting at the end of 2011 when about $100 billion in federal stimulus funds for education started running out.

District 271 has, until now, been able to pull away from the edge by using money from its fund balance reserve, but that revenue option has dried up and the result is a $3 million shortfall school officials have been talking about since last fall.

Most of the funds in question came into the district when the federal Education Jobs Act was signed into law in 2010. The money was distributed to states to save teachers' and school employees' jobs and help maintain instructional time for students as state and local revenue funds dried up. Idaho's share was $51 million, and Coeur d'Alene received $1.8 million.

The distribution was announced in the fall, early in the 2010-11 fiscal year, shortly after the close of the 2009-10 fiscal year, when the state education budget was slashed by an unprecedented $128 million. Between 2009 and 2011, Coeur d'Alene's public schools experienced a $6.1 million drop in state funding.

The $1.2 million balance of the $3 million shortfall stems from the district's loss of state funding between 2009 and 2011. During those years, the district's state appropriation was slashed by $6.1 million and school officials were able to dip into the district's then robust fund balance to make up the difference.

Wendell Wardell, the district's chief operations officer, told The Press there are no excess fund balance dollars to use for next year's budget.

"The district hoped over time the state funding would be restored; it hasn't happened," Wardell said.

The Education Jobs Act money had to be spent over a 27-month period that is now coming to an end. In Coeur d'Alene, and in other districts, the funds were used to restore budget cuts to personnel and instructional time.

Back in 2010, the district used most of the $1.8 million to restore six days furloughed from the 2010-11 school calendar. All school district employees would have felt a 3.2 percent salary reduction, and students would have lost those hours in the classroom, had the furlough days remained in place.

The district saved the remaining $600,000, and used it the following year.

Allowable uses for the Education Jobs Act funds included compensation for school-level personnel - teachers, principals, assistant principals, para professionals, bus drivers, food service personnel, school nurses, counselors and librarians. The money could not be used for district-level administrative costs or personnel, higher education or rainy day funds.

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  • chouli posted at 11:01 am on Thu, Jan 24, 2013.

    chouli Posts: 1294

    One time money rec'd from the stimulus bill shouldn't be expected to be ongoing. Don't tell the citizens that since it's gone WE have to make it up. It was one time money and shouldn't have been included in your ongoing budget.

    We all have to do more with less. This includes the schools as well. Stop the constant asking for more. WE know education is important and have supported the schools as much as possible and even then some more. Every year it's the same mantra...more, more, more.
    School district, please, we are at out limits. The need to spend over a million dollars on upgraded security is too much and not necessary. Just because one levey is ending does not mean we can afford to replace it with another levy for more. Please, give us a break.

    Make whatever cuts are necessary and not in a vindictive way. I remember the PF levy many years ago that was denied by the voters and the vindictive school district made the elementary schools split shift to make the parents miserable as a pay back. I heard from a teacher that the split shifts weren't really necessary but it was a means to force the parents/citizens into voting for their next levy. A child died because of that split shifting. He was hit by a drunk driver as he was coming home from school in the dark from the second shift. Remember??

  • milburnschmidt posted at 9:07 am on Wed, Jan 23, 2013.

    milburnschmidt Posts: 1160

    All over the country school districts are going in the red and our kids are falling behind. Its not because there is not enough money its because school districts spend to much on things unrelated to education. One has to wonder how much time is spent on furnishing clothes ,food and other side issues adds to this deficit. School administrators salaries have escalated and are ridicuously high as are all the contracts and studies they waste money on. The rest of America is cutting back and a bankrupt Congress cant control our debt. I guess schools dont teach economics or follow their own lessons. To many folks justify any silly idea that comes along and say its for the kids ignoring the price tags. The emphasis should be on quality teachers adequately compensated and more focus on preparing for the workplace not a utopian green vision of the world and liberal politics.

  • cgent47 posted at 8:26 am on Wed, Jan 23, 2013.

    cgent47 Posts: 193

    This is what happens when you have fools in charge. Take the federal money and when it runs out tax, tax, tax.

  • LTRLTR posted at 8:14 am on Wed, Jan 23, 2013.

    LTRLTR Posts: 1171

    The State of Idaho is at fault with reducing funding to school districts. Contact your representatives and ask them to restore the funding they cut from public education.

  • LTRLTR posted at 8:10 am on Wed, Jan 23, 2013.

    LTRLTR Posts: 1171

    ancientemplar: Good point!

  • truthful1 posted at 8:00 am on Wed, Jan 23, 2013.

    truthful1 Posts: 554

    It's ok....not like anyone is gonna be hiring Idaho grads anyhow...

  • ancientemplar posted at 7:53 am on Wed, Jan 23, 2013.

    ancientemplar Posts: 1287

    This is what happens when institutions make permanent decisions with temporary Federal dollars. At the end of the gravy train you have to pay the piper by looking for replacement funds(raising taxes) or cutting expenses(doing without those things the the temporary funds were used for).

  • Screen Name posted at 6:05 am on Wed, Jan 23, 2013.

    Screen Name Posts: 972

    OK Nonini, why don't you chime in here and explain your solution to the lack of state funding. My taxes have not gone down, so where is the money?

  • voxpop posted at 5:47 am on Wed, Jan 23, 2013.

    voxpop Posts: 738

    Banana republicans in Boise, such as Goedde and Nonini, continue to push their agenda of destroying public education so they can continue to eliminate taxes on the wide array of minimum wage businesses in the state. Have residents noticed their taxes being reduced? Nope. We and our kids aren't a priority, which is exactly what happens in a govt such as Idaho's, Botswana's, Bangladesh, ...

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