Apr 4, 2023 - News

Des Moines school board considers staff cuts, security increases

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

The Des Moines school board votes Tuesday on its proposed FY 2024 budget.

Why it matters: Finalizing a school budget is arguably the board's most important task.

  • It determines staff cuts, new infrastructure, curriculum materials and athletic funding.

Driving the news: This year is particularly difficult for the district, which says it needs to cut $12.2 million in order to balance its budget.

  • Over the last five years, overall student enrollment at DMPS declined by 717 pupils, contributing to the financial shortfall.
  • Costs like staffing and supplies have also increased since 2020.

By the numbers: The total proposed 2024 budget is around $610 million, a small increase from this fiscal year.

  • Steepest increase: $13 million for security, nearly double from this year's budget. The increased funding is earmarked for metal detectors, private patrol cars and more school personnel. The increase was prompted by a January shooting that killed two students.
  • Biggest cost: Staffing. In FY 2024, it will increase by 4% — about $14.1 million, due to an increase in base pay, district CFO Shashank Aurora tells Axios.

Yes, but: Officials are also proposing staff cuts to help balance the budget, equating to around $9.5 million, Aurora says.

  • Proposed cuts include 2% of teaching staff, 5% of support staff and 5% of office staff.
  • They're no longer considering closing any sports programs or extracurricular facilities, according to the Register.

Of note: The district is also proposing a property tax decrease for FY 2024 of $15.15 per $1,000 taxable valuation.

  • A family living in a $200K DSM home would pay up to $3,031 for the school portion of their property taxes in FY 2024. That's $38 lower than the current fiscal year.

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