Task force to advise district on cuts in schools
The Aspen School Board began formulating its plan last night to assemble a task force to look into how the district should slash $250,000 from next year’s budget.The district is in the second year of a three-year plan to eliminate a budget deficit of $900,000. After $500,000 was cut last year, this year’s cuts will likely affect school programs, activities and staff school Superintendent Diana Sirko confirmed last spring.Last night the board agreed the task force will consist of school administrators, teachers, parents and other community members. Sirko and district Finance Director Bill Anuszewski will act as nonvoting advisory members.The task force, which will be assembled in the next month and hold its first meeting on Sept. 28, will advise the school board on cuts next spring. The board gives final approval to the district’s annual budget each June.The school board also began what will likely be a monthlong discussion about what elements of the budget are off-limits to cuts.”You have to decide what our non-negotiables are so that [the task force] does not go down a road” it finds in the end to be closed, Sirko told the board.Board President Jon Seigle immediately mentioned the district’s popular outdoor education program, which takes students on experiential trips around the country, as a program he wished to guarantee funding.Board member Laura Kornasiewicz added the international baccalaureate program should not be considered in the cuts. “But that doesn’t mean we can’t address inefficiencies within [that] program,” said Alice Davis, also a board member.The task force is currently called The Budget and Resource Allocation Task Force. Kornasiewicz said the board should change the name to avoid the acronyms BRAT force or BRA task force. Sirko replied that the latter may encourage community members to “support” the district’s sagging finances.Members of the public interested in serving on the task force should contact the Aspen School District at 925-3760.Eben Harrell’s e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org
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