The BOE Budget Gap?

Paraprofessionals are generally dedicated aids to special education students. 


Here's the final budget: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1CVLedBYSMc-WqzJCQ5utCAZXcEXD0FAg/view

Something seems off.  Staff increased by close to 100 in the past 8 years?


jamie said:

Here's the final budget: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1CVLedBYSMc-WqzJCQ5utCAZXcEXD0FAg/view

Something seems off.  Staff increased by close to 100 in the past 8 years?

Are they counting pre-k?


Not sure about pre-k - here's the budget challenges.  What will ultimately be cut?  Seems to be a mystery at the moment.

There was an original projection to be a reduction in force of 30-40 employees during our preliminary budget hearing. This was to reduce a deficit of approximately $2.7 Million. But, in the end we reduced our budget by 28 positions and will impact 10 employees.

Methodology to determine the Reduction

● We examined all district programs from a compliance and mandate standpoint on the general education side and the special education side.
● We analyzed projections for enrollments in both general education and special education.
● We communicated with both district and building leaders on several occasions to review various scenarios, looking for the least impactful scenario for each department and building.
● We examined positions that were created and not mandated during times of surplus, some of these positions we were able to maintain, and others we opted to reduce.
● We attempted to make reduction decisions that minimized as much as possible the impact on classroom instruction and stayed as true as possible to the social-emotional well-being of our students.
● Non-instructional staffing was also reviewed and reduction decisions were made to maintain operational effectiveness and efficiency.


jamie said:

This is a pretty good overview:

https://www.tapinto.net/towns/soma/sections/education/articles/difficult-soma-boe-budget-slashes-10-jobs-and-cuts-funding-for-arts-and-more

What would the $10 million dollars in " paraprofessional expenditures" include?

Multiple numbers in this article seem very wrong (percent of funding from local tax levy and amount of out of district tuition both seem far far lower than reality).  Maybe the numbers referred to increases rather than the full number, but that wasn’t clear from the writing. 


max_weisenfeld said:

Are they counting pre-k?

Pre-K probably accounts for most of the increase in the early part of the period. I believe it opened in late 2015. I imagine the increase since the pandemic relates to remediation of learning loss. There was supposed to be a state program to fund at least part of this. I remember looking into this and didn't see So-Ma on the list of applicants. I assumed they were handling the remediation through the Achieve volunteer program.

From Star Ledger, Nov '23:

https://www.nj.com/education/2023/11/state-awards-41m-to-243-districts-for-tutoring-is-yours-among-them.html


susan1014 said:

Multiple numbers in this article seem very wrong (percent of funding from local tax levy and amount of out of district tuition both seem far far lower than reality).  Maybe the numbers referred to increases rather than the full number, but that wasn’t clear from the writing. 

I believe the article is mostly referring to "increases." One of the biggest "problems" seems to be costs related to paraprofessionals--$1.5m on a 8.5mm base. Remember when "outsourcing" the paras was supposed to save the district money? 


berkeley said:

susan1014 said:

Multiple numbers in this article seem very wrong (percent of funding from local tax levy and amount of out of district tuition both seem far far lower than reality).  Maybe the numbers referred to increases rather than the full number, but that wasn’t clear from the writing. 

I believe the article is mostly referring to "increases." One of the biggest "problems" seems to be costs related to paraprofessionals--$1.5m on a 8.5mm base. Remember when "outsourcing" the paras was supposed to save the district money? 

We don't know if it did or not.  Because we don't know what the other cost would be now.


DanDietrich said:

We don't know if it did or not.  Because we don't know what the other cost would be now.

Agree. It would be an interesting exercise to try to evaluate it but that's water under the bridge.

 I'm more interested in knowing why the district did not apply for the high impact tutoring funds. Do you know?


No. I don't.  I just hate the whole funding process.  Our folks make assumptions about state aid and it seems that it's mostly random at the state level.  It should be allocated in 10 year plans.


Is there anyplace to see a more detailed budget breakdown?  Salaries, expenses, etc.  We get this for the town budget - why not the BOE?  When we know what programs will be cut in funding?


That has been published but I forget where I saw it.


berkeley said:

Pre-K probably accounts for most of the increase in the early part of the period. I believe it opened in late 2015. I imagine the increase since the pandemic relates to remediation of learning loss. There was supposed to be a state program to fund at least part of this. I remember looking into this and didn't see So-Ma on the list of applicants. I assumed they were handling the remediation through the Achieve volunteer program.

From Star Ledger, Nov '23:

https://www.nj.com/education/2023/11/state-awards-41m-to-243-districts-for-tutoring-is-yours-among-them.html

Pre-K is an ongoing roll-out with classrooms still being added each school year


Wonderful outpouring of support from our students speaking out to save Stem and Arts programs:


Too bad they muted the sound when the students performed.



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