With the signing of the new BEP by Gov. Bredeson last week, the OR School Board has indicated that the Oak Ridge Schools will receive $1.9 million additional dollars for FY2008. This amount will more than cover the $140,000 cited shortfall as well as the reinstatement of the bus transportation previously cut to students living within a 1 mile radius of their respective schools.
I respectively request that the aforementioned transportation cuts be reinstated and that the remaining $1.48 million be returned to the City of Oak Ridge in repayment of the recently passed property tax increase.
Should some or all of the $1.9 million be allocated to meet mandates, I request that the Oak Ridge School Board consider offsetting those mandates by reallocating funds from some of the following 2008 expenditures, which represent nearly $6million and have not been annotated to meet any particular state or federal mandate. Please note that these figures do not represent the total amount of non-mandated funding as those numbers have yet to be provided to the public. Furthermore, these figures are merely suggestions of areas to consider and by no means are listed to devalue the work of those departments and individuals for which they were allocated:
1. $20.4K allocated for various items for the Office of the Superintendent
***The 2008 budget lists the Office of the Superintendent as consisting of 2 people. Reallocation might be considered from any of the following line items: $6,000 office supplies, $4900 other, $7,000 travel, $2,500 computer or desk (note that $6854 has already been spent in last 2 years for the last expenditure).***
2. $41.8K allocated for non-specified supplies and equipment for Office of the Principal
3. $115K allocated above last year’s allocations for the Fiscal Services department
***To perform its functions of fiscal responsibility, this department has been allocated over $700,000 which represents a 19.37% ($145,733) increase over last year and over 25% from the year prior. It would seem that budget increases would be contrary to the very goals of such a department.
4. $253K+ allocated for clerical workers
5. $400K allocated for Other – Instructional Contingency
****ORSB has indicated that these funds were to meet a state mandated one-time bonus for certified staff and a non-mandated bonus for non-certified staff. They have also indicated that the new BEP would likely eliminate this mandate)****
6. $950K allocated for regular Teacher Assistants
7. $182K allocated for Substitutes
****While the true value of our TAs and substitutes cannot be adequately represented in financial terms, the sheer number of both suggests some possible overlap that could be consolidated****
8. $900K+ allocated for secretaries
9. $1+ million allocated for technology services for Central and Other Services
10. $2+ million allocated for 40.5 custodians and 15.27 maintenance personnel
All of our children benefit from some of the highest paid and most dedicated teachers in the state.
All of our children benefit from the highest spending ratio per student in the state.
All of our children benefit from receiving one of the best educations found in the country.
Should all of our children benefit from 40.2 secretaries and clerical workers while not all are safe from busy Turnpike traffic on their way to and from school?
Should all of our children benefit from 40.5 custodians and 15 maintenance workers while not all are assured safety from sexual predators on their way to and from school?
Should all of our children benefit from a minimum $6 million of non-mandated funding which does not directly contribute to their education in the form of teachers, textbooks, extra-curricular activities, or special education while all Oak Ridge citizens are forced to pay the 4th highest property tax rate in the entire state of Tennessee?