Stephen Bell Elementary
Bell Creek Intermediate
Jake Andrew Chappars Memorial Play Place
Playground at Bell Creek Intermediate
Stephen Bell Elementary
How the BSS Staff Fits Into The Budget
In this section, we're going to look at how the BSS employees fit into the budget. As we've established, this is by far where the BSS spends the most money, but there is a reason for it. Schools are a service-based industry, much like salons or even hospitals. This means that it provides 'human capital' rather than 'physical capital'. In other words, a school's product is the service its employees provide. Without employees there is no service and therefore no industry. So, as with any other service-based industry, the majority of their overhead goes towards maintaining the service they provide by paying the people that provide that service.
It goes without saying that the service a school provides is education, but what exactly does that mean? Big picture? It means that they are contributing to a healthy US economy. On a smaller scale, the service provided is security in our own futures. By preparing the younger generations for entrance into the work force, schools are ensuring that it will be possible to meet the future needs of society as a whole, and on a more individual basis. The most commonly used example of this is that educated children mean better qualified doctors to care for the elderly in their communities. In that sense their education provides a direct benefit to us when they become our accountants, lawyers, contractors, etc.
Do teachers provide this service alone? Nope, the same way doctors are not the only employee that lead to a full recovery. A school requires many different positions in order to fully provide their service to the children in their care. Those positions are broken down into two types, certified and classified. A certified position is one where the employee must have a certain level of education and certifications, either one time or ongoing, in order to be qualified. This includes the superintendent, the principals, the head of tech, the head of curriculum, the psychologists, the nurses, the head of special ed., and all teaching staff. Classified positions are everyone else. They include the custodians, bus drivers, secretaries, media/library aids, special needs and education assistants, IT, bus mechanics, maintenance, and central office staff.
Since this section is how the staff salaries fit into the BSS budget we're going to start with a look at the changes that have been made in this line to help reduce the school's budget. In the last two years the school has chosen not to rehire 20 positions, 10 of which were teachers, when those employees left for various reasons. By not rehiring and shuffling classrooms around, they were able to reduce how much they spend on salaries. The entire school staff, from the superintendent down, have also agreed to a pay freeze for the next year. This means that none of them will have a cost of living adjustment for the year.
None of these adjustments were enough to correct the deficit though. This is why the state auditor came in, to search for any more areas where BSS could reduce costs. When it comes to the staffing they didn't find much. They ran a comparison of Bellbrook-Sugarcreek's salary schedule against several districts that BSS competes for staff with to determine whether that schedule was in line with their local peers. (Page 29 of the report) They determined that when it came to staff, BSS actually paid a little less than these peers in all but one category, teachers with a Bachelor's Degrees and 150 hours of continuing education. They made no recommendations to reduce staff pay.
Where they did make recommendations was in staffing quantity. They compared how many full-time employee hours BSS had of each staff type per 1000 students against their primary peer districts. (Also on the chart on page 29) Their recommendations did not consider details like building configuration. Currently BSS has a nurse per building. The state auditor said that BSS would need to reduce the nursing staff by 1.5 full-time employee hours in order to be in line with their primary peers. This is why the audit is non-binding and the local schools are left to make the decisions that are best for their specific district.
The only other possible staffing reductions the state auditor found were:
1.0 full-time hours - Tech Staff (which the school did in their most recent reductions)
0.5 full-time hours - Central Office Administrative Support Staff
0.5 full-time hours - Career Teachers (The ones that teach career oriented material)
1.0 full-time hours - Counselor
0.5 full-time hours - Librarian