Dr. Kreutzer presented the board with an overview of accomplishments and works in progress, including board goals and major issues facing the district, as part of his mid-year report.
Regarding the board’s top goal of successfully negotiating sustainable contracts with the various unions by June 30, Dr. Kreutzer reported slow but continuous progress.
Dr. Kreutzer gave special attention to facilities/sustainability, economics and technology. With a verified decreasing enrollment, he said that the facilities use committee will be headed by Ms. Harckham, who is also a member of the board’s sustainability committee. Recently formed, the facilities use committee will evaluate the district’s needs for facilities in light of the enrollment decline and investigate the possibility of closing an elementary school.
On the economic front, Dr. Kreutzer lauded the district’s performance in a recent external audit and its strong credit rating, but cautiously addressed the $180-million future liability the district faces for its contracted employee retirement benefits package.
“That is an important number for us to watch as a health indicator financially,” he said. “I am concerned about that number. I have continued to voice concern about it. We are making that a bargaining point when we come to the table.”
Dr. Kreutzer said that the situation was not hopeless and improvements had already been made this past year.
“By no means do I want to be chicken little, the sky is falling, the sky is falling,” he said. “I’ve seen some strength in change when we make a good health move.”
He pointed to savings of $300,000 the district made this past year through a simple health care alteration he compared to being as simple as switching from CVS to Walgreens.
In addition, Dr. Kreutzer projected multiple expansions to the wireless Internet and technology improvements for the entire John Jay campus and Increase Miller Elementary School.
“Our infrastructure and our backbone is antiquated,” he said. “We’ve made a lot of savings over the last several years by basically deferring maintenance in the technology area. The superintendent’s budget this year will contain a significant contribution to the infrastructure backbone.”