Return to Headlines

2024-25 Budget & Staffing Update

January 12th, 2024

Keeping students’ learning experiences as the primary focus has helped us as we have worked  to adjust to the financial future of the district.  As we have shared throughout the process, there is a very real need for the GIPS district to find ways to lower our operational costs districtwide by $5 million. 

Yesterday we shared an initial plan for the 2024-25 school year budget and staffing adjustments with the Board of Education at our January meeting.  I also wanted to take a moment to share that plan with you, our families and community, in hopes it may provide clarity into how we will adjust some things going into next school year. 

Because we are in the people helping people business nearly 80% of our operational costs are for staffing.  Consequently, we cannot do a $5 million reduction without reducing some staff.  

Knowing that we are going to have to reduce staff understandably is a concern to everyone working in the district.  We truly believe that most — note I am saying most - would love to say all — of the staff reduction needed will be taken care of through natural attrition.  The intent is that as people leave the district in reduction areas we will not replace them with a new hire but will reallocate staff to fill needs. 

While the need to reduce staff clearly exists, we feel confident that these reductions will result in few if any employees being left without a job.  In 2010 the district was forced to reduce costs by $10M.  At that time an even more significant number of employees needed to be reduced.  However, when the dust all settled at that time every employee who wanted to remain with the district was able to do so.  

While the expectation is that every employee who wants to remain with the district will be able to, there is also a need to take steps to assure that the needed reductions are accomplished.  

Consequently, the Board of Education will be asked to approve a Reduction in Force (RIF) plan for certified staff members at their February meeting.  This plan will specify positions, not people, to be reduced.  Prior to this time administrators will have conversations with those individuals who might be impacted by the RIF plan.   

Here is an overview of the 2024-25 Budget & Staffing Adjustments we shared with the Board of Education.

GIPS Strategic Plan Focus for 2023-24 venn diagram showing: Instruction, Positive Supports, PLC, and Student Success.



  • The District Leadership Team will be reducing 1 position and opting not to replace two outgoing individuals for a total reduction of 3.  
  • Along with the district administrators that were not replaced last year an additional district level administrative position will be reduced.
  • Eliminate a few vendor contracts.
  • Adjust licensing, software, and services lifecycles for technology.  (IT Team)
  • Reduce Communications Department budget.
  • Reductions in spending at the district level will cover between $1 and $1.5 million of the $5 million overall budget reductions needed.

Elementary students in Knickrehm classroom giving a thumbs up to their teacher.


  • Overall Goal:  Reduce budget spending by $500k. 
  • Because our elementary buildings significantly reduced staffing when the grade band size was increased a couple of years ago there are no intended elementary staff reductions at this time.
  • Each Elementary School building budget will be reduced by 10%.
  • Preschool class size will increase to 20 students (previously 15).  All preschool sessions will be ½ day.  While this does not lower costs, serving more students will generate additional revenue from the state.
  • Reduce transportation costs by eliminating general before and after school busing. Students utilizing the bus for specialized and/or special education programs will still continue.

Barr teacher helping 6th Graders open their lockers.


  • Overall Goal:  Reduce budget spending by $1 million
  • Each Middle School building budget will be reduced by 5%.  
  • Reduce 11 Certified Staff Positions.
  • Reduce 3 Classified Staff Positions.
  • Reduce general before and after school busing.  Students using the Gates and Knickrehm bus routes to Westridge; after practice evening bussing, and students utilizing the bus for specialized and/or special education programs will still continue.

GISH English Teacher at the whiteboard mapping out instruction for students.


  • Overall Goal:  Reduce budget spending by $2+ million.
  • Close and divest of the Wyandotte Learning Center.
    • Education Pathway will move to Senior High
    • High School Newcomers will move to the CPI building
    • Success Academy will move to the Islander Annex
    • High School Skills Academy will move to the Current Success Academy Facility
  • Reduce 1 Administrative Positions.
  • Reduce 17 Certified Staff Positions.
  • Reduce 2 Classified Staff Positions.
  • Reduce general before and after school busing. Students utilizing the bus for specialized and/or special education programs will still continue.

Our largest spending reduction is at the high school level.  As part of the Academy plan that was implemented there was a designed five year review and revision that was scheduled for this year.  The high school administrative team went through the process of realigning the Academies and Pathways with current student interest and the ever changing job market. As they did this they also did it with an eye on how to operate the Academy model more efficiently.   The result was a move to reduce the number of academies by one and move from 20 pathways to 11.  While the number of pathways is significantly fewer, the intent is to still provide students access to most of the previously offered pathway courses as elective offerings. 

As we think about the overall impact of these cuts we recognize that the most significant impact will be on our staff.  

We are optimistic that most staff members will be able to stay with the district.  However, in a number of cases staying will mean moving to another position.  We have great people working in the district and we want to keep everyone we possibly can.  

Over the course of the weeks ahead further direct conversations will be taking place with those people who are going to be directly impacted.  The natural shuffling of staff that takes place as people decide to leave the district will begin to clarify just where cuts will need to be made.

With potentially fewer staff there may be a need to discontinue some programming.  Reduction at the district level means less support in some areas.  Loss of transportation services will present special challenges for some of our students.  Less dollars in building budgets will create a need to say ‘no’ to some of the things we have done in the past.

Ultimately, we are all in this together.  

Everyone is going to be impacted in some way.  We need to keep our focus on Student Success and support each other as we move through this challenge.  Every challenge is a growth opportunity and I am confident that we will come through this and be better than ever.

- Matt Fisher
Superintendent, Grand Island Public Schools