After discussing the adjustments to the 2010/2011 budget (revenue neutral), Superintendent Dr. Desmond Means opened the business end discussing the 2011/2012 budget forecast. His take is that since 80% of the budget is personnel costs, it is time to talk real money and real concessions from teachers.
M/T teachers have averaged 3.43% annual increase in compensation over the last 5 years; a number private sector employees haven't seen. The tax levy has increased 1.49% over the same period, leaving a structural deficit. Teachers need to accept a multi-year pay freeze and cost-of-living over the forseeable future. this is the only way the school gets back on even footing. You can cut all the programs you want; at 80% of the budget, the only way one gets any traction is addressing compensation.
Interestingly enough, the next topic was a new program - 4k kindergarten. I saw the rationale for this all based on "it's for the kids". First, the structural deficit was just the topic and now we are going to add a program? The treasurer indicated it would improve the deficit because they would have further taxing authority. What part of the "we are taxed to death" argument did she not hear? further, there WILL be less state aid. I don't care who is elected. There is no money. The argument that it helps the children transition to 5k is irrelevant. Then why not a 3k program to help transition to 4k? And parents (mostly teachers) are more than happy to tax the residents for the benefit of 140 children? Are these same parents willing to go to a one-income setting in order to stay home and teach their own children? I'm guessing not. This new program would be irresponsible at this time.