Community message from Dr. McCann
From of the office of Superintendent Dr. Blane McCann
I am certain that everyone is looking forward to spring recess, marking the “official” end of winter. I enjoy seeing and hearing the robins and other birds, the greening of the landscape, longer days and other signs of spring: baseball, prom, commencement, planning a budget for the next school year… yes, this is the time of year that the District begins preparing next year’s budget.
The FY19 budget year looks much better due to the difficult decisions the district has made over the past three to four years to reduce our expenses. Another reason for this improved outlook is due to the community vote in September 2017 that extended the levy override for another five years, increasing it by five cents. I again want to thank the community for supporting our district and its needs so that Westside Community Schools continues to be an educational leader in Nebraska and the country.
We continue to gather information from a variety of sources to inform administration as we project our expenses and revenue for FY19. I want to thank many of you who responded to our survey question earlier in March. Similar to last year, I am meeting with a group of community members and staff to prioritize identified programs or budgetary items in three areas. First, we review and prioritize items or areas that could possibly be abandoned as we look for efficiencies and learn more about how to best teach our learners. Second, we review and prioritize district activities that may be modified or partially reduced. Finally, we review items that may be added or restored to our budget. It is important for us to review our spending on a yearly basis to ensure that our funds are spent in alignment with our strategic plan and community values. Your feedback is important to this process.
The first thing we are looking to do is to add money to our fund balance, with a goal of having 15% of our budget in that balance. Secondly, we intend to add money to maintain and keep our facilities and grounds in good operational shape. The budget committee is advisory to the Superintendent and is not a decision making group, but will provide input as district leadership develops budget recommendations for the Board of Education to consider for FY19.
This is the first year since I was appointed as Superintendent that we have been able to examine our spending without a budget crunch driving our decisions. It is an opportunity to collaborate and dialogue with our community and staff to understand and align our spending to meet the needs of our students.
Our team began meeting on March 29 and will meet again on April 9 and April 19 to complete our task of prioritizing budget items. If any community member would like to learn more about the budget advisory committee or our process, please contact me by clicking here, or by emailing Director of Communications Brandi Petersen at email@example.com.
When our students and staff return from spring recess on April 9th, we will be refreshed and have a renewed focus to finish the school year on a high note. I want to wish everyone a safe, fun and relaxing spring recess with your family and friends.