The detailed Proposed FY14 Budget was released this past Friday evening and the $22.5 million in cuts are now shown in the detail. The changes are “as expected” based on the discussions held in the Budget Commission and there are really no surprises. However, the new proposal still increases spending by $12.6 million over FY13!
Below is a Chart showing the original Version 1 as compared to the just released Version 2.
To place all of the changes in perspective, the original proposed expenditures of $614.9 million included a complete set of the Administration’s wishes, including a $9.6 million Bonus and $9 million in teacher raises. From the start it was clear that the $18.6 million total of these two items was never going to make it to the final Budget. So – after all of the wrangling on the other budget components, the real cut to the original proposed budget amount to only $3.9 million or 0.6% of the remaining items! The paltry nature of this amount will be even clearer when we compare Version 2 to last year’s spending in a subsequent post.
The following are a couple of quick notes on the changes incorporated into Version 2:
- Overall, Direct Instruction is down $1 million or less than 1%. The major changes include a $2.1 million increase in Classroom Instruction (1200) spending; a decrease of $1.2 million for Substitutes and the balance of $1.9 million in reductions are spread evenly across all the other Departments.
- The School Administration at Schoolhouse (Principals, Asst. Principals, etc.) is down $2.3 million. All of the decrease is in Salaries and Benefits, but as the updated Staffing Report has yet to be released, I am unsure if there are any positions cut here.
- The School Administration at Central Office reduced expenditures by $1.2 million or nearly 8%. There were cuts across in all departments, with the largest reductions to the Administrative Services Department ($346 thousand), the Office of External Programs ($262 thousand) and the Exceptional Children Administration ($196 thousand).
- Expenditures for Operations were reduced by $5.4 million. The major changes were a $1.5 million decrease in the Safety and Security Departments (more efficient interaction with the Atlanta Police); $1.3 million decrease in Transportation expenditures; $1 million in lower utility costs and $880 thousand in lower expenditures on Custodial operations.
- General Administration expenditures decreased $1.8 million with decreases in spending across all Divisions. Major changes include a reduction of $358 thousand for Organizational Advancement; $370 thousand for Finance; $732 thousand for Legal; $327 thousand for Human Resources and $587 thousand for Information Technology. It is also interesting to note that Media Services increased by $930 thousand – it is likely that there was a budgeting error in the prior version.
All in, this is a start. But as I noted above, the cuts made so far are only to “proposed budgets” and not to actual year over year spending which, in fact, is still up $12.6 million as compared to FY13. Do not be fooled by budget tricks – a reduction in proposed spending is not the same as a cut in year over year spending. While the proposed cut to spending of $22.5 million sound good, what do you think when you also know that spending is up $12.6 million over last year?