Garfield Re-2 2020-21 budget approved |

Garfield Re-2 2020-21 budget approved

Garfield School District Re-2 School Board adopts budget, steps and lanes wage plan for next fiscal year

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After months of financial uncertainty and navigating the COVID-19 pandemic, the Garfield School District Re-2 School Board on Tuesday approved a budget resolution appropriating $77,692,596 for the 2020-21 fiscal school year.

“This is a big moment because I think when I got here in the middle of March, this was probably a very distant dream,” interim Chief Financial Officer David Trautenberg said during the Tuesday school board meeting. “We are actually in good shape.”

Trautenberg presented two options for the school board, one with a “steps and lanes” salary adjustment increases and one without.

Using the lyrics from Rolling Stones, Trautenberg said, ‘You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes you might just find you get what you need.’

After conservative projections, the district finance team and the state announced last week that per-pupil funding is estimated at $7,789 for Garfield Re-2.

“Now, why is that important? It’s not in the bag or a guarantee, but we are going to be somewhere between $125 to $170 higher in funding than our conservative estimates,” Trautenberg said. “We are still at risk in our per-pupil count, however with this additional money that comes in conservatively we are probably looking at getting about another $700,000 to $800,000.”

Trautenberg stressed that it is critically important that the partners at Collaborative Solutions (interest-based negotiations body of the district), the community, stakeholder, and all of the employees understand the risks. 

“With zero clarity in financial forecasting, but the legislative council is estimating being down another 11.1% next year, which would be another $300 million in reduction,” Trautenberg said.

After careful consideration, the board moved to adopt the resolution including the steps and lanes plan. 

Board members Anne Guettler, Katie Mackley, Meriya Stickler and Tom Slappey voted to approve the budget. Board member Kirk Wilson, whose wife is a district employee, had to abstain from the vote.

The room erupted in cheer as board President Guettler proclaimed the budget approval.

“It’s been a long haul to get here, but I think we are all excited,” Guettler said.

The board also passed the Capital Reserves Projects Fund of $1,369,000, which will go to fund an air filtration system at Rifle High School, interior doors at Rifle Middle School and Highland Elementary, modular leases at Highland Elementary, Cactus Valley Elementary and Coal Ridge High School, and slab work Cactus Valley Elementary.

In other business, the board agreed to move its meetings to Mondays for the 2020-21 school year; approved a resolution in support of a ballot measure to repeal the state’s Gallagher Amendment; and updated its virtual meeting policy.

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