Re-1 school board OKs $67 million budget | AspenTimes.com
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Re-1 school board OKs $67 million budget

John Stroud
Glenwood Springs correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS – Roaring Fork School District Re-1 officials on Wednesday signed off on a $67 million budget for the coming year.

The 2010-11 budget reflects a 6.3 percent drop in state funding from last year, but avoids the kind of deep program cuts and teacher layoffs that other school districts around Colorado have had to endure.

“With the cuts that we potentially were facing early on, it really made us sharpen our pencils to do what we could to avoid impacting students and classrooms,” Re-1 School Board President Bob Johnson said. “We were prepared for a much worse-case scenario. Fortunately, that didn’t come to fruition.”

The Glenwood Springs-based district, which oversees public schools in Glenwood Springs, Carbondale and Basalt, had prepared for a cut in state funding of up to 10 percent.

In reality, the cut in per pupil funding for the year beginning July 1 is projected to be 3.6 percent less than the level of funding Re-1 received from the state for 2009-10, following a round of mid-year funding rescissions.

“Because salaries were frozen for 2009-10 and the district did not spend enrollment growth funding, about $1.4 million of revenues remain unused to apply to the funding gap for 2010-11,” according to a Budget Reduction Plan statement included with the budget documents.

“In addition, the district has identified over $1 million in expenditure reductions,” according to the statement.

Among those cuts were a 20 percent reduction in materials and supplies budgets for each school building. The district also postponed new curriculum adoption, suspended its summer school program, and decided not to re-hire some vacant staff positions.

Combined, the spending reductions and unspent funds provide a cushion in the case the state rescinds more funds next January, or the district sees a decline in enrollment, which is another unknown.

The new budget assumes enrollment will remain at current levels for the coming school year. However, if numbers go down, per-pupil funding would be reduced accordingly and some teaching positions could be affected.

“Salaries will be frozen for next year with the exception of increases for education credits on the teachers’ salary schedule, and longevity incentives …,” according to an overview of the budget. If funding allows, however, pay increases could be considered in January.

The Re-1 budget includes a $45 million general fund, including $3.5 million in transfers from other district funds.

The budget and related documents will be posted to the district’s website at http://www.rfsd.k12.co.us.

Johnson said this year’s budget process was a good exercise to prepare for next year, when there will still be a fair amount of funding uncertainty.

“It gave us a comprehensive understanding of the budget and all that goes into it,” he said. “I think we’re in a better position for future budget discussions.”

jstroud@postindependent.com


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