An unfortunate reality for all of us revolves around the issue of the state budget. It has been widely publicized that the Oklahoma Legislature has $1.3 billion less to appropriate for next year. This will create a big hole to the say the least. The state has experienced two "revenue failures" during the current year, resulting in cuts to state agencies of about 7%. The Legislature reacted with tapping the Rainy Day Fund to offset a portion of the reductions. Additional cuts to education are expected as late as June for the current fiscal year.
We have been able to manage the cuts to our current year budget. BPS has a General Fund Budget of $33,800,000. State aid to BPS amounts to approximately 40% of this budget, and the remainder is made up from federal and local sources. Beginning in January 2016, BPS began implementing budget reduction steps to match the losses in state aid. Among these steps include a hiring freeze, reduction in spending on supplies, materials, and equipment, decreasing maintenance and custodial budgets, and slicing school site budgets.
BPS manages its General Fund in a manner that provides for an 8% year-end fund balance. In essence, the fund balance minimally acts as a "savings account" to finance unfunded mandates from the state as well as source of funding for expenses as the District transitions from one fiscal year to the next, allowing bills to be paid until new year revenue sources generate income. The law allows BPS to operate a fund balance of up to 14%. BPS has reduced its fund balance to 8% to cover for losses in state aid to a point where it simply cannot be cut more.
Current year expenses in personnel, supplies, materials, and equipment have been cut. The District's fund balance has been cut to the lowest level fiscally responsible. Still, in order for the District to prepare a fiscally responsible budget for the 2016-17 school year, an estimated $1.7 million more must be cut. This cut equates to approximately $200 for each of our weighted students.
Conversations with parents and constituents about our budget have demonstrated that a quick description to clarify the nature of the school's revenue sources and the manner in which those sources can be used is prudent at this point. In addition to the General Fund, the District, according to Oklahoma's laws, maintains three additional funds that receive funding from various sources. Through bond sales, our Bond Fund pays for projects approved by voters for very specific purposes in bond referendum elections. Our Building fund is funded through local property taxes and is restricted for use in purchasing buildings and equipping and maintaining district facilities. The last fund, the Child Nutrition Fund is funded via the sales of meals as well as modest state and federal reimbursements. Its sole purpose is to fund the district's student feeding program. NONE of these funds are eligible for use with TEACHER SALARIES.
We are interested in gaining input from our parents, staff, and community members regarding how the District should respond to the state's budget crisis and resulting necessity to cut $1.7 million from the 2016-17 school year budget. Please take a few moments to let us know your priorities regarding potential budget cuts. In a recent survey by CCOSA, a state-level educational organization, over 100 of Oklahoma's schools responded to the question of potential cuts occurring in schools. Bixby Public Schools has considered but not reached a final decision on many of the same cuts. Some of the cuts suggested (and listed below) by other schools HAVE NOT been considered by BPS. We want to know what you think of some of these cuts, however.
Considering the areas of cuts listed below, please indicate all areas you feel the District should consider. A comment section is included at the end of the survey for you to express your thoughts on these items or to suggest additional items for consideration. This survey will remain open until Tuesday, April 26th at 5:00 p.m. Thank you for your time and input.
Please click here to complete the survey: