June 3 budget update - a message from the superintendent

June 3, 2020 

Dear PSD staff and families,

During Tuesday's special meeting, the Poudre School District Board of Education voted to pass a resolution declaring the existence of a fiscal emergency, pursuant to Article 14 of the PSD Employee Agreement.

As PSD prepares for a state funding deficit of between $15 million and $28 million triggered by the COVID-19 crisis, we are considering sources of one-time money to make up for the anticipated shortfall. Schools and central departments have also made ongoing cuts to fiscal year 2020-21 operating and staffing budgets.

Translations posted when available.

Specifically, the school board must declare this type of fiscal emergency as a first step before the district may proceed with PSD’s Reduction in Force, or RIF, procedures for classified employees. Article 14.1. stipulates a RIF may be necessary when the Board of Education experiences a decline in its ability to fund district operations, requiring program changes to cut costs and increase operating efficiencies that can’t be achieved without eliminating classified positions. A primary goal is to make program changes that have the least negative effect on PSD’s education program.

Examples of classified positions at PSD include but aren’t limited to office managers, bus drivers, payroll technicians and more.

We are not ready to release final layoff totals – for licensed, classified and administrative positions – because the PSD budget is not finalized. The Colorado legislature hasn’t put forth the Long Bill or School Finance Act, so we don’t know the final magnitude of K-12 funding cuts – or how those will manifest in PSD. What we can share today is an overview of cuts to central department budgets and programs totaling about $4.2 million: 

Learning Services Team (i.e. includes but isn’t limited to Athletics and PE office, Standards and Assessments, Educational Technology and more): $365,289

•    Cuts were made to staffing and operating budgets for Organizational and Staff Development, as well as Curriculum and Instruction, Career Education, Gifted and Talented and Standards and Assessments). 

Superintendent’s Office (i.e. district general counsel, Board of Education, etc.): $134,000

•    On-going central cuts were made to the superintendent’s staff operating budget, which includes legal services and Board of Education operating budgets, in the amount of $23,000. 
•    In addition to the central cuts, PSD has also decided to put the hiring of a new PSD Foundation executive director on hold indefinitely, resulting in a one-time savings of at least $111,000 total compensation annually. 

Communications Department: $77,931

•    The department eliminated a full-time communications and social media specialist position left vacant in spring 2020 through natural attrition. Other members of the team have assumed this positions duties and plans are to hire a variable-hours employee to maintain the department’s current service levels longer term. 

Human Resources (i.e. Risk Management, Benefits Services, Records Holding, etc.): $210,020

•    HR is not filling the mentoring and induction coordinator position, a 1.15 FTE cut, following the June 2020 retirement of the current coordinator. CDE requires each district to have an induction program for new licensed educators. All these responsibilities will be assumed by other HR staff.
•    The remainder of HR’s budget cuts are from operating budgets from Mentoring, Risk Management and Records.

Finance Department (i.e. Purchasing Services, Financial Services, Payroll): $207,100

•    All cuts were made to the department’s staffing department, eliminating multiple positions including the Procurement Services manager. The district has made great improvements in procurement over the course of multiple years and, because of those efforts, is currently positioned to minimize staff efforts to process purchases under $50,000 by implementing workflows within the financial system. For higher-dollar purchases, procurement staff will continue to provide the same level of services when conducting vendor selection. These changes will not impact department and school-end users.

Information Technology (IT) Department: $327,427 

•    The department has eliminated a vacated systems administrator position that will impact support times and hinder the advancement of PSD systems. The balance of cuts in operating budget will increase PSD’s IT infrastructure risk profile, primarily by extending equipment use beyond the time we’d normally replace it and also postponing or canceling project work to improve PSD systems and support that does impact staff and students.

Operations Department (I.e. Outdoor Services, Custodial, Facilities Services, Construction Services, Security Services, Bus Operations, etc.): $1,496,277

•    The department cut 20 positions, ranging from a carpenter and project coordinator to a building manager and bus operations manager, among others. 
•    Operating budgets were cut by more than $300,000, which results in the completion of fewer projects (I.e. some maintenance needs will be delayed with a priority on completion of life-safety projects; reduce floor refinish to every other year, which can cause undo wear and tear on surfaces). 

Instructional central cuts (includes departments with a direct impact in schools such as Integrated Services (special education), the Teen Parent program and more): 364,678

•    Several positions from the Integrated Services (IS) department were eliminated or hours were reduced. A position from the English Language Proficiency Act (ELPA) program was also reduced.

Budgets with no staffing (i.e. workers compensation, summer school, Odyssey of the Mind and many more): $1 million in ongoing cuts and $1.79 million in one-time cuts

•    Those experiencing cuts include but aren’t limited to middle and high school athletics, textbooks, the Summer Institute for educator training and the budget for PSD’s administrative complex building maintenance.

Cuts to central administration for FY21 also include an additional $1.5 million. PSD cut $1.5 million from central administration two years ago. This work was done in preparation for possible budget cuts at the time. Ultimately, the budget shortfall anticipated at the time did not come to fruition, so PSD decided to distribute the $1.5 million to schools to use for teacher professional development until it was needed – as it is now – for challenging budgeting times.

Schools cut 5 percent from budgets, totaling about $7.3 million in other ongoing cuts.

Declaring a fiscal emergency pursuant to Article 14 is different from a declaration of fiscal emergency pursuant to Colorado Revised Statute § 22-44-115.5.

PSD staff presented PSD’s proposed FY21 budget to the Board of Education May 26 and plan to present an updated proposed budget at a June 9 special meeting. The board will be asked to formally adopt the balanced FY21 budget at its June 23 meeting.

The May 26 proposed FY21 budget is available on the district’s Financial Transparency web page.



Sandra Smyser, Ph.D. 

Dave Montoya 
Executive director of Finance Services