East Grand seeks ways to reduce school deficit
April 3, 2009
The East Grand School District Board of Education is preparing for what is expected to be a tight upcoming budget.
A summary of the 2008-’09 revenue shortfall lists a total deficit of almost $250,000. Vocational education reimbursement accounted for $40,000 of that, along with a student count reduction ($103,000), interest income ($30,000), preschool Federal funding ($4,000), nutritional services ($30,000), activity fund transfer ($10,000), a loss of base funding of $35,000, and the Colorado Department of Education rescinded $15,000 to pay for administrative functions.
Already taking into account shortfalls from the 2008’2009 budget, projected revenue shortfalls for the 2009-2010 school year could reach from $113,302 (better case scenario) to $507,935 (worst). Key components include a cost-of-living rollback of $148,244, a student reduction of 20.2 full-time equivalents of $138,427, and an inflation rate (plus one percent) of $394,632.
With that in mind the board is making special efforts to study and share its financial situation. Superintendent Nancy Karas and Dr. James Chamberlin, director of student achievement, have been visiting the schools in the district to begin discussion on the upcoming financial challenges.
With the severity of key funds in question (state stipend and stimulus), the two created a viewer-friendly presentation which breaks down incoming and outgoing funds and their purposes. The breakdown is a viewer-friendly way to “put reality on the table” for many who may not realize the financial workings of the district, Karas said. In it are overviews on how Colorado school finance came to where it is now, what has kept the EGSD financially “healthy,” what the EGSD knows about the upcoming budget, and ideas to reduce the deficit.
Local funds make up 86 percent of the EGSD revenue, with the other percentages coming from state funds (10 percent), and two percent each from Federal and grant funds. Those funds are distributed among salaries and benefits (86 percent), toward the general fund balance (nine percent), and the capital reserve (five percent).
In the last decade the EGSD has built a new middle school and transportation facility, as well as additions to Middle Park High and the Fraser Valley and Granby elementary schools. Along with district-wide maintenance costs and a debt pay-off in 2004, the total expenditures reached $45,860,000.
To help, voters in the district agreed to raise their taxes to provide $1,200,000 annually in additional general funds and $900,000 over a three-year period for technology upgrades; and approved a $45,000,000 bond (to be paid in the next 20 years) for facility improvements. They also: voted to let the EGSD De-Bruce in 1999, and approved perpetual cost-of-living increases in 1994 and 2001. “We are where we are today due to continued community support of public education,” the presentation notes.
Every department has been prompted to look at what each is willing to give up to help the district remain “fiscally responsible.” The EGSD Board of Education is set to approve its budget at a meeting June 30, with the next meeting open to the public Tuesday, April 21.