A $1.3 billion budget is a large and complex animal, too lengthy and dense to get through in the course of a PowerPoint presentation, or single board meeting. Nonetheless, attending the May 12, 201 CMS Board of Education Meeting and hearing the budget presentation, I was struck by the unanimous vote without question or comment, taking less than two minutes, total. There must be more to this story.
One reason may be the largely unpublicized extent to which CMS has actively sought ways to save money. Digging into the fine print, I was very pleased to see $3.4 million in found savings against the 2014-2015 budget. Finding access to state-wide systems, that save the need to purchase local systems, is smart business, saving $1.2 million. Elimination of the Associated Superintendent for Auxiliary Services saved $194,000 in salary and benefits. Smarter personnel management to reduce unemployment claims saved $980,000 from 2014-2015 budget.
Cynics may view such reports with skepticism, as do I, and question why if such amounts could be saved now, they were not saved initially. Be careful what you incentivize, as you will get more of it. So instead of bashing cost savings as meaningless fluff, I applaud it, and want more. Sheila Shirley, in particular, deserves respect, and her detailed budget report does not seem to be fluff.