Re-1 board to address spending priorities tonight |

Re-1 board to address spending priorities tonight

CARBONDALE, Colorado – Roaring Fork School District Re-1 officials are set to take up discussion this evening on where to spend the recently approved mill levy override funds for the remainder of the current school year, while developing a long-term budget plan.

Priorities for the $4.8 million in additional yearly property tax funds approved by district voters last fall top the agenda for tonight’s regular Re-1 Board of Education meeting.

The meeting takes place at 5:30 p.m. at Roaring Fork High School in Carbondale. It’s the first in the school board’s new meeting rotation, alternating meeting sites between Glenwood Springs, Carbondale and Basalt.

The new mill levy was certified in December and will begin generating revenue in February, according to a memo to the school board from Re-1 Assistant Superintendent of Business Services Shannon Pelland and Superintendent Judy Haptonstall.

Roughly $4.2 million is expected to be available for use during the current fiscal year, which runs through June 2012, according to the memo.

Recently, input was solicited from principals, district administrators, instructional facilitators, teachers and board members on some of the district’s immediate needs.

“With salary freezes since September 2008, rising health care costs to employees, significant budget cuts to many areas over the past two years, and the implementation of Moving On, the feedback was intended to develop short-term expenditure priorities to provide relief in these areas,” the memo states.

Approximately $1.7 million in immediate expenditures have been recommended, including:

• Defraying health care costs

• Adding instructional staff time to support learning intervention

• Restoring 50 percent of the prior funding for building materials and supplies

• Providing new language arts curriculum and intervention materials

• Increasing custodial staff by one “floating” position per attendance area

• Addressing deferred building maintenance

That will leave about $2.5 million of the immediately available override funds for additional needs, or to carry over for one-time spending in future years, according to the staff memo.

In addition to the short-term needs, the school board will also start to address a long-term plan for the override funds beginning with the 2012-13 fiscal year. That will likely involve forming a committee to make recommendations based on additional staff input and public comments.

“The process to identify priorities for expenditures of the mill levy funds should be transparent to our staff and community, and should include input from all interested stakeholders,” Pelland and Haptonstall state in their memo.

Also on the agenda tonight will be a discussion in follow-up to last week’s school board decision to end the contract of Superintendent Haptonstall after this school year. The board will be addressing the next steps in the transition process.

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