Montrose County scales back school cuts

MONTROSE — Montrose County School District budget cuts will not be as severe as originally projected for the 2011–12 school year, a small piece of good news in otherwise tough times for education funding, district officials said.

The district is in its second straight year of budget cuts, and officials expected a shortfall of $5.3 million, but the final number was $3.7 million, which includes cuts in employees and discretionary funds for schools.

“We’re in better shape than a lot of school districts,” said Karin Slater, chief financial officer for Montrose RE-1J School District.

A couple of assistant principals, a custodial supervisor and an assistant superintendent are among 32 full-time positions that will be left vacant this fall, saving the district $1.6 million, Slater said. Meanwhile, a hiring freeze is in place.

In April, the district announced that 22 one-year-contract positions were not being renewed, a savings of $532,215. Maintenance costs were slashed by $100,000. Purchases of textbooks and technology products have been postponed, saving the district $287,787.

Student-to-teacher ratios remain about the same because enrollment dropped by 330 students this past year compared with 2009–10, Slater said.

Slater said parents and students will notice some cuts before the 2011–12 school year begins in August. For instance, costs for students participating in sports will increase because the district cut funds in transportation, which allows sports teams to travel.

“Teachers are going to have to be very conservative with their supplies, so in that area students and teachers will notice a change,” Slater said.

A copy of the district’s budget is available at http://www.mcsd.org.


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