Mountain View School Board discussed potential changes to the salary schedule last week in response to a declining balance.
Cindy Smith, a fiscal services and support coordinator from the Arkansas Department of Education, addressed the board at its Feb. 8 meeting. She said the district is in its third year of loss, with a decline of $400,000 in 2020 and a projected decrease of $800,000 for this year.
The board took no action because they are waiting on pending legislation, but Supt. Brent Howard gave them some proposed changes to review, including eliminating some of the steps on the schedule to freeze salaries until the situation improves.
“I know that’s not going to be popular... But we are doing anything and everything we can to make sure we stay in good standing with her (Smith’s) department.”
The district has lost 150 students since 2014, Smith said, and has experienced significant losses in foundation funding, which is unrestricted funding from the state based on enrollment.
The district is currently overstaffed for the number of students, she said.
“Since the 150 students lost since 2014, every prior administrator should have been cutting one full-time position for every 10 students lost.”
Smith said the department likes to work with school districts on early intervention to head off fiscal distress. The salary schedule changes being considered are what the department recommends to districts in the situation.
“If they get things turned around in three or four years, you can always add a step back into the salary schedule,” she said. “This schedule is better than going in and saying, ‘Okay, we’ve got to RIF (reduction in force) this many positions.’”