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PAYDAY NOTES from the Superintendent

October 21, 2011

I need to make you aware of some information about Parkway’s budget and financial outlook that I shared with the administrators at a meeting last Thursday. The good news is that Parkway continues to be in strong financial shape. We are fortunate to have a supportive community and a strong and stable local economy that provides a relatively consistent tax base to support the work of our schools.

But even Parkway is not immune to the challenges of declining revenues in a tough economy.

In recent years, Parkway has worked hard to keep expenditures down as we added programs and services. In fact, our overall expenses have only grown by about 2.8 percent annually since 2007. But the current realities of our economy will not allow that trend to continue. During the same time period, Parkway’s operating revenues have decreased and future growth is expected to be minimal. Therefore, it has become increasingly difficult for Parkway to balance the budget without reducing expenditures.

The short-term solution is doable.  Our financial projections indicate we will need to reduce operating expenditures by approximately 3 to 5 percent over the next two years. This proactive strategy will help ensure Parkway continues on a sound financial path for success. Failure to address the financial challenge now will cause serious consequences for the school district and its future.

I have asked a team of district administrators to assist the Superintendent’s Action Team over the next few months in developing some possible budget reductions that we could begin implementing next year. I will keep you updated as we move forward.

In the long-term, we will establish more formal structures through Project Parkway to ensure we operate as efficiently as possible, while still allocating sufficient resources to accomplish our mission and continue providing a high quality education for all students.

In my remarks at the beginning of the school year, you heard me say that for us to be better, we may need to become different. Budget challenges also force organizations to look differently while still getting better.

Like nearly all businesses and households in America, the Parkway School District must tighten its belt and plan carefully.

Monday’s informational heroin evening is still on in light of a likely fifth World Series game. However, to ensure parents will not have to choose between the Cardinals and heroin information, we have moved the event from 7 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Central High School

The school time changes implemented this week went smoothly. We accomplished a much improved and timely delivery of students to school and on-time school pick-ups at the end of the day, especially for our middle and elementary schools. Congratulations and thanks to Will Rosa and his staff.

On November 2, 2011, we will be presenting for approval the North area school attendance boundary changes as presented in September. The school meetings at Craig, McKelvey, River Bend, and Ross went very well. Implementation of the boundary changes will occur for the fall of 2012.

These are wonderfully exciting times for our area with the Cardinals in the World Series! It is amazing how this has improved our outlook and enthusiasm each day. Hopefully, a World Championship is in the making for St. Louis.

Keith Marty