Re-2 school board supports dip into savings for 2011-12
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
The Garfield Re-2 School Board supported recommendations from the district administration to spend down about $2.5 million from the district’s fund balance to cover part of the anticipated $3.3 million in cuts necessary for the 2011-2012 school year.
The district will also consider proposing a mill levy override to voters in November to cover continued revenue losses.
Garfield Re-2 superintendent Susan Birdsey laid out a multi-phase plan for budget cuts in a school board meeting last week. She said imposing cuts in phases, while using the district’s fund balance to delay other cuts, will give the district time to decide on further cuts if voters do not approve a mill levy override.
School board president Jay Rickstrew said he favored the combined approach of making some cuts while drawing on reserve funds.
“We’ve built up a rainy-day fund and it’s pouring outside at the moment, so we need to use some of that,” Rickstrew said.
Other board members disagreed, urging the district to start cutting costs in areas that make sense now. They still supported the idea of using some reserve funds.
“I think we should deficit-spend,” said board member Lee Krauth, referring to the practice of drawing from fund reserves. “But I don’t think we should have phase one, two, or three. Let’s just start phasing in different things as we go,” he said.
The district, which governs schools in Rifle, Silt and New Castle, anticipates revenues of about $36.5 million for the 2011-2012 school year, with expenses of about $38.3 million.
Administrators say a best-case scenario will leave the district with a deficit of about $2.9 million or a worst-case scenario of about $3.3 million.
The district has already identified $753,000 in cuts for next year. These include reduced payments to the Mountain Board of Cooperative Educational Services for specialty services, leaving the assistant superintendent’s post vacant, and reducing elementary school faculty by four teachers districtwide.
That level of cutting will still require the district to draw down its reserves by about $2.5 million, while pursuing a ballot question for a mill levy override.
“I think that what we have to do is go to the community on how to proceed and if they support a mill levy or not,” Birdsey said. “We have to give them a voice and give them a chance to make that decision.”
If voters do not approve a mill levy override, the district will have to implement additional cuts for the 2012-13 school year, and could face further budget reductions from the state. That could mean increasing class sizes districtwide at the elementary level, elimination of some after school programs, staff furlough days, and the possible closure of two elementary schools.
The Re-2 budget will continue to be revised and evaluated until final board approval at the end of June.
Support Local Journalism
Support Local Journalism
Readers around Glenwood Springs and Garfield County make the Post Independent’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.
Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.
Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.
Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.
User Legend: Moderator Trusted User
Outstanding Teacher Awards organized by Summit54 recognize elementary educators throughout Roaring Fork Valley
The Glenwood Springs Post Independent and The Aspen Times are partnering with Summit54, an education nonprofit in Aspen, to help acknowledge the hard work of educators who have gone above and beyond during COVID-19 in…