Valpo school district faces more budget woes
By Diane Kubiak Post-Tribune correspondent September 18, 2012 11:14PM
Updated: October 21, 2012 2:34PM
VALPARAISO — Money woes continue to plague the Valparaiso Community Schools as projections for August made earlier this year did not take into account three payroll expenditures.
Superintendent Mike Berta said the situation won’t correct itself. “You cannot operate your family by spending more money than you are taking in,” Berta said at the monthly School Board meeting on Monday.
Ditto for a school district.
Specifically, Berta recommended that the board not staff a “critical” central office position: director of curriculum and instruction. That position usually commands a salary of $130,000 to 135,000, he said. He said all positions vacated by retirements and resignations will be scrutinized to see if the work can be redistributed among existing staff.
He cited one janitorial position under scrutiny. Instructional aides not financed by federal Title I money will also not be replaced if they separate from service, a savings of about $12,000 per aide, he said.
Berta said professional development that targets safety could cut down on the number of workers’ compensation claims. “Preliminary figures indicate a tremendous savings if we have employees not (be) involved in accidents,” he said.
Work flow of the central office staff is also being streamlined, he said.
Berta also recommended that the board drop “Meetings and Conferences” from its agenda and give the administration discretion to make decisions on professional development. “We’re trying to put together our own professional development here with our own employees,” said Berta, who plans to tap into the expertise of specific staff members to facilitate training. He said the administration is being “very restrictive” in approving conferences and meetings employees ask to attend.
He noted Fortune 500 companies frequently attribute their success to the constant training of employees, but the district must balance the budget somewhere. “It’s a struggle to keep employees current,” he said.
The district has received a grant to cover the cost of substitutes while training for Universal Design for Differentiating Instruction and for crisis response and intervention training.
Berta said that the new data management program will also require extensive training.