BREMEN—The Bremen School board discussed the 2020 budget, as proposed by school treasurer, Stephanie Pittman. However, the school budget underwent some major changes thanks to a lower student body, otherwise known as an Average Daily Membership (ADM).
“Our ADM last year was about 1,492, but when we looked at last year, we graduated a large class,” Pittman said. “I thought we were going to be down… So I projected at 1,475 when I did my initial [budget] projection.” However, at the start of the school year, enrollment was only around 1,466. With the lower ADM this year, the school had to cut the budget substantially. “I have reduced the budget by another $100,000-some for this year,” said Pittman. However, a few changes enacted earlier this year made the transition easier and less painful.
One such change is most evident in personnel, which encompasses 95% of the educational fund. “All I have done in the education fund is set up the personnel with their salaries and benefits in the programs we currently have,” Pittman said. As such, most of the changes between the 2019 and 2020 budgets are thanks to predetermined salary adjustments. One example of this is a kindergarten teacher who retired at the end of last year. “[The teacher] was higher up on the scale and her replacement is a newer teacher and so not paid as much, so there was a reduction in that salary,” Pittman explained. “I made those kinds of changes all the way throughout the education fund.”
Another cut also has to do with teacher retirements and is thanks to political changes in Indianapolis. Earlier this year, Governor Holcomb decided to take some of the money from the state surplus and add it to the Teacher Retirement Fund. Because of that, the BPS contribution to annuities savings and teacher pensions decreased from 10.5% to 8.5% “This is supposed to be going forward. I’m crossing my fingers,” said Pittman. “The contribution added up to the tune of $75,000.”
Some minor budget alterations came out in the education and operations fund as well.
Other additions to the budget include offering certain services in-house instead of contracting them out, like psychological testing. Other services, like speech pathology and certain aspects of the special education department are mostly covered by state and federal grants. Altogether, the BPS budget increased by 1.37%, which comes to approximately $116,000.
After the presentation, the board voted to hold the required annual budget public hearing during the Sept. 18 board meeting, which will be held in the school’s Media Center at 6:30 PM. The board will then vote on the budget on Oct. 16.