Noblesville Schools trims budget by $1.7 million

Dr. Beth Niedermeyer

Dr. Beth Niedermeyer

Noblesville Schools has trimmed its overall budget by $1.7 million as part of a budget management initiative launched by Supt. Dr. Beth Niedermeyer.

“We spent a great deal of time studying and looking for ways we could streamline our costs and operate more efficiently,” Niedermeyer said. “What this will do is help us manage ourselves a little bit more leanly and just be mindful of the ever increasing challenges that school districts face in terms of budgeting.”

Niedermeyer identified an opportunity for stronger budget management as part of her 100-day-plan assessment of the district. The initiative also gets the district out of deficient spending.

“While it was challenging to lead this difficult exercise so early in my tenure, it was clear to me that changes in our budget management needed to be made to better ensure our financial stability going forward,” she said.

The process to identify the cuts spanned several months and included challenging central office leadership to review their department operations, as well as convening a budget review committee made up of representatives from various levels, functions and schools throughout the district.

“The objective was to make cuts as far removed from the classroom and students as possible,” said Niedermeyer. “I’m pleased we were able to accomplish that, as well as preserve employment and benefits for staff members. We are really running a lean organization going forward.”

Niedermeyer said the district is eliminating cell phones for administrators and has reduced some supply and library budgets, health care costs, travel expenses, substitute costs, overtime fees and changed how the district has used benchmarking time for kindergarten teachers and collaboration days.

“Some of those really center around outside contracts that we are eliminating,” Niedermeyer said. “We are also making reductions here at central office. We have restructured our secretarial staff and were able to reduce two positions in doing that.”

Niedermeyer said staffing changes are coming through reorganization, retirement or natural attrition.

“There is not one lost job,” she said.

The district also will be exploring opportunities for revenue generation for the corporation.

“We also looked at how we can shift some expenses from general (fund) into our operating fund.

Niedermeyer said some of the changes will take affect Jan. 1 with others at another time.

“Some have already taken place and some will start in the fall,” she said. “It’s over a period of time.”

Niedermeyer said the district’s 2014 budget is $99,384,317.