District 51 school board considers budget cuts

List of possible spending reductions may change before revisions adopted

District 51 School Board members spent more than two hours Thursday morning piecing together a list of potential budget reductions.

The list, which may change before an adjusted budget is formally adopted before the end of the year, includes two furlough days this school year for all school district employees, saving $1.2 million.

“We don’t like it, but I think it’s an option we have to face,” School Board President Leslie Kiesler said.

The list of $2.9 million in cuts also includes taking two school days that were added to the school year in 2009-10 off the school calendar for a cost savings of $1 million, reducing fuel costs by $150,000; eliminating $40,500 worth of mileage reimbursement for special-education employees; and eliminating $2,040 used to reimburse education cabinet members and Superintendent Steve Schultz $25 a month for cell phone costs.

“We’re not going to protect myself and the cabinet from anything we’re asking others to do,” Schultz said. “Administration will take it’s share (of cuts).”

Other list items included:

Taking back $250,000 left over from this year’s extended learning summer school program;

Taking $35,000 away from technology growth that is not needed for immediate concerns;

Taking $25,000 from telecommunications and technology administration that the department volunteered;

Spending $220,000 less on school technology because many teachers have found other ways to fund technology;

And pulling $20,246 from the Advancement Via Individual Determination program to help underachieving middle school students.

One place the district will not cut this year is employee numbers.

“We may eliminate some positions next year, but we’d rather use attrition and retirements first,” said Melissa Callahan DeVita, District 51 executive director of support services.

If $2.8 million, the amount District 51 expects to be short of state funding this year, is not needed in full, money from the list can pay for the district’s original budget line items.

The figure may drop a bit if more people pay their Colorado vehicle registration fees than have so far this year, for example.

The number, however, could go the other way.

Callahan DeVita said there is a slight possibility the state may ask for another recision on top of the 1.9 percent the state is expected to rescind from every school district’s budget before the end of January.

“This could all get worse, which is another reason to be conservative,” Schultz said.

School Board members decided Thursday to delay adopting therevised budget from Nov. 3 until at least Nov. 17.

It may move the decision into December in order to provide more time for district leaders to talk to personnel at each local school about the budget and receive public comment.

For more information online, go to http://www.mesa.k12.co.us/2003/Departments/Budget/index.cfm.


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