District 51 cuts to total $11.9 million

School District 51 plans to cut $11.9 million to balance its 2011–12 budget.

The district has been weighing budget cuts for months, anticipating that $10 million to $12 million would have to be sliced from the budget for the next school year. Following the Legislature’s passage of the so-called “long bill,” which determines state funding for education and other sectors, the district now knows state funding cuts to the district will total $6.9 million.

The district also expects to lose up to $2 million in specific ownership tax revenue, according to a YouTube video posted by the district and narrated by District 51 Executive Director of Support Services Melissa Callahan DeVita.

A portion of specific ownership tax, which is paid when a person buys a license for a motorized vehicle, is funneled to local school districts each year and accounts for about 7 percent of District 51’s budget. The district received $8.4 million in specific ownership tax for the 2011–12 school year, according to District 51 Budget Director Vi Crawford.

Crawford said the district hopes to get as much as $8.6 million this year, but that’s still down from the nearly $10 million the district previously expected to receive for next year’s budget.

The expected drop in specific ownership tax revenue is related to the economy, Crawford said.

“People just aren’t buying cars and boats and things we’re getting specific ownership on,” she said.

The district also will lose $1.1 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding next year. The current school year was the last to benefit nationwide from federal ARRA funding.

The district also expects to pay $900,000 more in contributions to Public Employees’ Retirement Association of Colorado benefits next year and projects a 165-student drop in enrollment, which will amount to about $1 million in funding the district would otherwise receive from the state.

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Watch a YouTube video by District 51 about their budget cuts:




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