Proposed budget for Garfield Re-2’s upcoming school year focuses on ‘staying within means’
Since Colorado’s not yet in the clear of the global pandemic, the Garfield School District Re-2 is heading into next year with a relatively frugal budget.
Chief Financial Officer David Trautenberg, who will soon be replaced come July, presented the proposed 2021-22 budget to the Re-2 School Board on Wednesday. He said the district is very focused on budget conservation and narrowing deficit spending.
“We also are all very focused to try and stay within our means,” he said. “Meaning the revenues we get minus the expenses that we do during the year are greater than or equal to zero.”
So far, the district is looking at a $57.49 million total projected budget for the upcoming school year. Compared to this school year’s $54.87 million readopted budget, that’s nearly a $3 million increase.
Other notable increases in projected revenue Trautenberg highlighted focused primarily on per-pupil funding. With the projected October pupil count at 4,600 — the year prior was 4,562 — the 1.63% means the district should receive a projected per-pupil revenue of $8,500.
The state budget proposed earlier this year projected a state average of $8,857 in per-pupil funding.
This past school year’s per-pupil funding was $7,865, which means next school year’s numbers should make for an 8.1% increase.
Trautenberg said the district is going to continue to meet the instruction health and learning needs for Re-2 students as well as staff by “utilizing resources appropriately.”
“So it’s really business as usual,” he said, “where we’re going to align all our funding sources with the current and educational mandates, with really a clear focus now that it looks like maybe COVID isn’t gonna suck up all of our energy to really focus on academic achievement and increasing educational outcomes.”
Budget numbers presented by Trautenberg show projected total capital expenditures for the 2021-22 school year at about $4.5 million. Of that, capital outlay makes up about $4.48 million of the total projection.
Budget: $57.49 million
October pupil count: 4,600
Funding per pupil: $8,500
Budget: $54.87 million
October pupil count: 4,562
Funding per pupil: $7,865
One major capital project includes a total of $5.6 million to fix infrastructure on the first level of Cactus Valley Elementary School in Silt. The elementary school, originally constructed in 2007, is set to undergo various slab replacements due to soil issues underneath the building. The project will be defrayed over the next two years.
Meanwhile, the district is awaiting a $2.6 million Building Excellent Schools Today (BEST) grant offered through the Colorado Department of Education, which should help defray the costs of the project. Trautenberg said those funds are not included in the proposed budget.
Another major expenditure for the district is the proposed $33.75 million and $13.1 million for employee salaries and benefits, respectively.
For steps and lanes, a funding method that awards instructors pay raises based on the number of years worked or further education attained, Trautenberg said the compensatory fund will receive an $850,000 projected bump for next school year.
In addition to supporting salaries and capital projects, Trautenberg said the district will continue to maintain its ability to retain a long-term permanent substitute teacher model, keep schools open amid the pandemic and address post-COVID-19 food insecurity, social and emotional well-being and early childhood education, among other goals.
Once the proposed budget is adopted, expenditures will just outweigh revenues $57.94 million to $57.49 million — which is less than $500,000.
“As you can see, we’re in a much better place than we were with COVID,” Trautenberg said. “… We really have narrowed deficit spending, and we really should be applauded for that.”
The budget is slated for adoption on June 23.
Reporter Ray K. Erku can be reached at 612-423-5273 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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