One of the most important long-term strategies to ensure fiscal stability is to establish a structurally sound budget.
For school districts, where the largest operating expense is people, conventional wisdom suggests a budget becomes structurally unsound when more than 85% of the operating budget is devoted to salaries and benefits. Ideal spending for salaries and benefits should make up 80-85% of the general fund budget for a district like ours.
Leading into the fiscal crisis of 2004, Mentor Schools had allocated 86% of the budget for salaries and benefits. Through the leadership of the Board of Education, the Superintendent, Chief Financial Officer, Mentor Teachers Association and Mentor Classified Employees, we were able to work cooperatively to turn that around. By restructuring compensation and benefit programs, today 80.99% of the budget is allocated for salary and benefits—right in the ideal range.
To accomplish this, the Board of Education and Superintendent worked to adjust staffing levels to match declining enrollment. Additionally, through the collective bargaining process, the compensation structure for both salaries and employee benefits evolved from the pre-crisis years to current time. Mentor Schools is fortunate to have a productive working relationship with all of its employees, enabling us to have a structurally sound budget that has provided fiscal stability since our emergence from fiscal emergency in 2005.
Thank you for your continued support of Mentor Public Schools. You can read more about our district’s finances anytime by visiting the Chief Financial Officer’s section of our website.
Click here to download Financial Facts #17.