Mill levy spending plan before school board tonight
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – Voter-approved mill levy override funds would be used primarily to reinstate teaching positions, increase pay for teachers and staff and buy new curriculum, under a proposal before the Roaring Fork Re-1 school board tonight.
However, cuts in athletic programs would not be reinstated using the new mill levy funds, according to the recommendations from Re-1’s Interest-Based Bargaining committee made up of district teachers and administrators.
Out of the $4.8 million in new local property tax funds approved by voters last fall for schools in Glenwood Springs, Carbondale and Basalt, about $821,000 would be used to hire back 15 teaching positions across the district.
Thirteen of those positions were eliminated this year in the face of ongoing state budget cuts. Two new positions would be added to adjust for an expected growth in enrollment for the 2012-13 school year.
The Re-1 school board is set to consider the plan during a special meeting tonight beginning at 7 p.m. at the district office in Glenwood Springs.
In addition, six teaching positions that were retained this year using reserve funds would also be paid for out of the new funds, at a cost of $300,000 for 2012-13.
And, a combination of $250,500 in mill levy override dollars, plus approximately $859,000 in other general fund money, would also be used to award an average 3.5 percent pay increase for district staff in 2012-13.
“This is the first increase for district staff, including teachers, classified staff and administrators, since 2008,” according to an explanation of the proposal on the table tonight.
The plan also calls for $300,000 of the mill levy override funds to be used for curriculum, technology and related teacher training, and $498,000 to cover an additional share of health insurance costs for employees.
Other mill levy override spending proposed for 2012-13 would include:
• $190,000 to restore school materials and supplies budgets that were cut.
• Roughly $155,000 to keep the four custodian positions that were restored using funds that were available this school year.
• $100,000 to hire back two maintenance/grounds staff positions.
The plan would also hold $700,000 in reserve for possible additional state budget cuts in 2012-13, and another $750,000 for future state budget cuts.
The proposal does not include reinstating funding for some $162,000 in athletic program cuts this year.
“The district received feedback from parents and staff members regarding the reinstatement of certain sports to the district and to individual schools, adding back coaching positions eliminated during budget cuts, and addressing inequity in pay levels between coaches,” the IBB recommendation notes.
However it notes, “Mill levy override funds cannot be used to reinstate athletic programs or positions,” due to the wording of the ballot question.
“Despite the many known benefits of student participation in athletic programs, the committee does not recommend diverting other general fund resources to athletics at this time,” the proposal states. “A piecemeal approach to reinstating programs is not recommended, and a large-scale infusion of funding to athletics to restore lost programs and positions should not be considered until state funding stabilizes.”
The full IBB proposal can be found on the Re-1 website, at http://www.rfsd.k12.co.us, under the “What’s New” header.
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