Budget Issues in 2012-13
97% of the district’s general operating fund comes through the state’s public school funding formula known as the State Equalization Guarantee (SEG).
After 3 consecutive years of funding cuts, APS received a modest revenue increase of $8M from the state in 2012-13. The district lost some funding because its enrollment dropped by 782 students due in large part to charter school growth.
Of the $8M in additional funding, three quarters of it – $6M – went to the employee retirement plan. During the previous year, the state mandated that all public school employees pay both their share and the employer’s share of their retirement contribution. In 2012-13, school districts went back to paying their share.
The remaining $2M in increased funding wasn’t enough to cover cost increases including raises for teachers moving from one tier to the next; the elimination of a furlough day for non-school employees and restoration of a training day for teachers and counselors; and increases in utility and benefits costs.
Budget Shortfall for 4th Consecutive Year
APS was faced with a budget shortfall of $4.7 for 2012-13, but decided against cutting school and department budgets, which had already decreased by more than $100M in the three years. Instead, the shortfall was covered by tightening operational purse strings and dipping into reserves.
The APS operational budget has been cut by $105M in 4 years:
- $25M decrease in 2009-10
- $38M decrease in 2010-11
- $37M decrease in 2011-12
- $5M decrease in 2012-13
Four years of decreased funding from the state has resulted is larger class sizes. APS once again received a waiver that allows its student-teacher ratio to be 7% greater than the state caps.
The budget cuts resulted in the loss of fewer than 20 positions in 2012-13. In the previous three years, APS cut 1,000 jobs.