Re-2 board eyes school closures, other cuts |

Re-2 board eyes school closures, other cuts

John Colson
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, Colorado CO
Kelley Cox Post Independent

RIFLE, Colorado – School officials here are thinking about closing two elementary schools, Kathryn Senor in New Castle and Wamsley in Rifle, in an effort to deal with $1.5 million to $2 million in cuts to the Garfield School District Re-2 budget.

The possible closures and other potential cuts are on the agenda for the school board meeting set for 6 p.m. today at the school district offices, 839 Whiteriver Ave. in Rifle.

District administrators and board members cautioned district voters in 2011 that drastic cuts were likely if a proposed $3 million mill levy override were to be rejected last November.

The district already had cut 23 positions and various programs over the previous two years in the face of drastic cuts in state education funding.

Voters rejected the mill levy override proposal in the Nov. 1 election, 63 to 27 percent. At the time, board president Jay Rickstrew said school officials were facing “a lot of work to do to maintain the level of services we’ve had in the past.”

The agenda for tonight’s meeting begins with a consent agenda and reports from Superintendent Susan Birdsey and board members, followed by the budget discussion, labeled as a “governance discussion item.”

The presentations will include a look at 2012-2013 budget projections and other financial matters, followed by discussion of the potential cuts.

According to Birdsey’s blog on the district website, posted on Jan. 6, the district is facing a deficit of $1.5 million to $2 million for the coming school year.

Theresa Hamilton, director of districtwide services, said on Monday that the finance office was still working on estimated savings related to specific potential cuts listed on the agenda.

When asked to release any dollar amounts attached to specific cuts, Hamilton responded in an email, “The specific dollar amounts will be presented at the meeting and discussed in depth at that time. The board has not set a direction on the specific cuts that they wish to consider for implementation and everything on the agenda is listed as a discussion item only.

“The Garfield Re-2 School Board has not made any formal decisions regarding the amount that they are willing to deficit spend,” Hamilton stated in the email. “This is one of the topics that will be heavily discussed at Tuesday’s meeting.”

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