Scottsdale school board members, hoping to offset the need to lay off teachers and desperate to provide pay raises this year, may dip again into a "rainy day" savings account.
Known as the "plant fund," the district has tried every year to cut its borrowing from the fund that collects money from renting facilities. But this year, faced with the possibility they might have to cut programs or lay off music and physical education teachers, board members said they are tempted to use the fund again.
The board on Tuesday reviewed options to cut a $2 million deficit and provide $2 million for a 2 percent salary increase for all staff. Among ideas that continue to rankle parents and teachers are consolidating music classes, sharing music teachers among more than two schools, and selling education-related advertising on the sides of buses and on school fences.
"What’s the next proposal: To sell advertising space in bathrooms?" asked Kiva Elementary School parent Jacob Berger.
Another idea still being researched is merging two physical education classes into one class of 40 to 60 students, in order to cut the number of P.E. teachers in half at schools.
Several teachers, including Desert Canyon Middle School’s Linda DeYoung, told the board fewer P.E. teachers would relegate the classes to "recess" and create more injuries.
Those cuts, however, still leave the district $1.2 million in the hole and unable to provide salary increases promised earlier in the year.
Because of declining enrollment, the district is also considering admitting more out-of-district students through open enrollment. The cost of hiring additional teachers would be offset by an expected decline of 20 to 30 teachers because of the drop in enrollment of about 595 students.