APS Could Face Fourth Year of Budget Cuts
Even if no cuts are made to public education funding, higher costs could mean less money to spend.
December 13, 2011
The APS Finance Department is anticipating more budget cuts for the 2012-2013 school year, which could mean the fourth consecutive year of cuts.
The budget forecast, presented this week to the APS Board of Education Finance Committee, estimated cuts of $19 million to the operational budget, but many factors will impact that estimate including:
- How much money the state legislature allocates for public education
- How much money APS and its employees are required to contribute toward retirement
- Whether the federal government reaches a budget agreement by Dec. 31
- How many teachers get salary increases as they move from one tier to the next
- Whether the state fully funds transportation or if APS needs to subsidize buses
- Whether the state fully funds instructional materials or if APS has to subsidize textbooks
- Whether APS employees are furloughed for a day (for the third consecutive year)
- How much utility costs increase including electricity and water/sewer/garbage.
Another factor affecting the district’s budget is student enrollment, which is down by about 1,000 students this school year. State funding is driven by enrollment, so the decrease could mean $4 million less to APS.
The APS Finance Department estimated this week that across-the-board cuts for next school year could be 4.4 percent, though officials were quick to note this is a very early and conservative estimate that is likely to change.
A 4.4 percent cut is about half of the average 8.4 percent cut to the APS budget last year (4.9 percent at the school level and 12.8 percent for non-school services). However, this cut would represent a 25 percent cumulative cut to the operational budget in the past four years.