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The Ugly Budget Part II

An update on mid-year cuts to the 2016-17 budget.

A message from the APS Budget Steering Committee.

After weeks of scouring the operational budget for savings, the APS Budget Steering Committee has come up with ways to plug a $12.5 million mid-year reduction without having to shut down the district or lay off employees.

It will take some belt tightening and creative financing to cover the budget cut – our second of the school year totaling nearly $25 million – but we are committed to protecting students and employees as much as possible. We realize that too many APS employees live paycheck to paycheck, and we don’t want to make the struggle any more difficult.

To that end, we came up with other ways to trim the budget, at least for this school year. In a plan we shared with the Board of Education on Tuesday, Feb. 21, we outlined steps we’re taking, including pulling more than $6.6 million from our working cash. Taking much more from that account could keep us from covering our end-of-year bills as well as anticipated future cuts to our budget.

We found some saving in our substitute budget because fewer teachers have called in sick and in our utility budget because of the mild winter.

Our schools stepped up, too – just as our departments did earlier this year – coming up with ways to cut back on supplies through the end of the school year.

Other steps we’re taking include shifting funds from some accounts and reducing others. Go here to review the budget reduction options we shared with the board.

We’re not completely out of the woods. There is a potential for additional reductions to the 2016-17 budget pending the legislature’s March revenue forecast.

And, of course, we are planning for 2017-18, which very likely will bring even more budgetary challenges.

Hundreds of you wrote to us with questions and suggestions on how to address the budget crisis. Many of the suggestions were very thoughtful. We’ll continue to keep you informed, and we appreciate your input. It feels like we’re all in this together.