Salaries & Benefits: 88%
Materials, Supplies, & Other (MSOC): 11%
Within the categories above, there is another way to look at expenditure data. Viewed by program, one can see where salaries, benefits, and MSOC were allocated. This can be a more useful tool when comparing expenditures to the stated goal of "achieving high academic standards through support for student learning that results in continuous improvement and academic success for all students."
Camas allocates 80% of expenditures directly toward learning programs (regular instruction, special education, vocational education, compensatory education, and other educational programs & grants). Additionally, much of the district-wide support goes toward services and contracts which directly support learning such as food services, transportation, and IT support.
Camas is dedicated to paying competitive salaries and benefits commensurate with the cost of living. Camas compensation is the highest in Clark County and fourth highest statewide in terms of cost as a percentage of overall budget.
Personnel Costs (Salaries & Benefits) as a Percentage of the Total Budget
Personnel costs consist of both salaries and benefits, and benefits are currently equal to about 39% of salaries. Growth in these costs may be attributed to employee (FTE) growth, salary growth, or a combination of the two. The chart below shows the historical comparison of the two over the past five years.
While FTEs have increased by 14%, yearly salary expenditures increased by 51% in the same period.
Personnel Costs - Salaries & benefits are dictated by the outcome of bargaining unit negotiations which result in multi-year contracts for Certificated employees, Public School Employees (PSE), Clerical and Secretarial Staff, etc. Camas school district pays the highest average salaries in the county and in the top 10% statewide; a state which ranks sixth in the highest paid states nationwide. Our commitment to attracting and retaining high-quality educators is a bedrock principle in the budgeting process. The challenge, however, lies in focusing our expenditures into areas which have the greatest impact while continually aligning expenditures to revenue trends.
Our mission focuses on serving students first, with an emphasis on spending which is closest to the student. To that end, Camas has worked to focus scarce financial resources on areas which have the greatest direct impact on learning, and to reduce costs in other areas. The graphs below are representative of district trends and are derived from publicly reported OSPI data up through 2019. We utilize data such as this throughout the budgeting process to ensure we are aligning our expenditures to areas that support our educational outcomes.
The measure of our effectiveness in expenditure allocation is educational outcomes. The graphs below are derived from 2019 testing data and demonstrate our commitment to excellence in learning.
The second largest general category of expenditure is Materials, Supplies Other (MSOC) at about 11%, and it is one which we frequently receive questions about. This area encompasses items such as general supplies, classroom supplies, & textbooks, as well as services such as utilities, custodial services, security, and professional services.
A very common question we receive is why aren't we saving in MSOC items and redistributing against budget shortfalls. The answer is twofold:
The answer is that we redistribute that money rather than expand programs in order to reduce or prevent deficit spending. But without reductions in personnel costs it is challenging to realize significant overall savings.
The chart to the left shows the top non-personnel costs for 2019-20. Consider electricity for instance, which has seen some reduction during distance learning. For 2019-2020, total costs were $670k, or .69% of the actual expenditures. Saving 30% on electricity would result in savings of $201k, which is just .21% of the annual budget. While any savings is significant, if personnel costs continue to increase as the trend suggests, MSOC savings will be insufficient to offset these personnel cost increases.
Our budget focuses scarce resources on targeted areas which provide the best educational outcomes. Over the long run, however, revenues and expenditures must be aligned in order to ensure that we continue to provide sustained high-quality education.
Personnel costs represent the greatest driver for expenditure growth, and we expect cuts in these and other areas to realign revenues and expenditures in order to replenish fund balances in out-years. This not only ensures the ability to withstand periods of deficit spending, but also ensures a healthy financial statement, which has secondary effects on credit rating applied to long-term financing in the form of bonds. COVID and distance learning will have some effect on the 2020-21 expenditure curve, and we continue to monitor those changes month-to-month as distance learning evolves.
Use the charts below to explore district expenditures. Click on expand arrows at bottom for full screen.