West Grand School District considers budget cuts, fee hikes | SkyHiNews.com

West Grand School District considers budget cuts, fee hikes

Reid Armstrong
Sky-Hi Daily News
Grand County, CO Colorado

Facing $300,000-$400,000 in state budget cuts for the upcoming school year, the West Grand School District Accountability Committee (DAC) posed its list of recommendations to the school board last Tuesday night.

Among cuts being suggested by DAC are:

• Cutting the gifted and talented program ($28,250) -This program serves about 45 students and DAC feels it can provide these service to students without a special program;

• Ending Friday school ($42,700) – Many teachers feel this program is not functioning as it was intended and that it’s just become “babysitting for the community.”

• Reducing classroom budgets by 20 percent ($20,000) – Parents would be required to provide more school supplies such as a ream of paper at the beginning of the school year;

• Reducing the mileage program for parent drivers ($7,000) – Some parents are currently receiving mileage reimbursements for driving their students to the bus stop; and,

• Eliminating the third first grade classroom ($41,000) – Numbers have dropped to a more manageable level.

These cuts would bring a total savings of nearly $137,000 to the district.

DAC is also suggesting the district can raise additional funds by:

• Charging the preschool a monthly fee ($1,800) – This would offset the cost of water, electricity and paper supplies;

• Increase cost of meals by 15 cents ($4,600) – The school district currently subsidizes the cost of meals by almost $5,000 per year;

• Increase fees for sports from $20 to $35 ($3,500) – Some neighboring school district charge as much as $100 per sport;

• Increase lab fees for certain classes like art, welding and shop ($1,000) – Again, neighboring districts are already charging fees ranging from $10 to $45 to cover the cost of experiments and supplies; and

• Charge user fees for public use of the building ($15,000) Nominal rates have been established for the remainder of the school year and will be revisited for 2010/2011.

These recommendations would bring an total increase in revenue of nearly $28,700. If the board adopted all these recommendations, the total relief for the district would be $162,600.

The DAC is not recommending a tuition charge to parents for half the kindergarten day:

“It is our belief this would hinder our kindergarten program and undercut the Pre-K program. There is a genuine concern that the parents wouldn’t be able to afford the tuition. … This district has made huge strides in Early Childhood Education and we feel this would be a step backwards,” according to the committee.

The committee also recommended combining math classes with low student numbers and looking at classes with student teacher ratios of 1-6 as potential places to save money. The committee also suggested limiting distance learning classes to subjects that the district is not able to offer.

“It is also our hope that since the school does have a healthy reserve that you would consider using some of it before making too many cuts in hopes that our school might look attractive compared to the surrounding districts that have to make many cuts,” the recommendation reads.

Residents, students and parents of the West Grand School District are invited to fill out a community survey on the school’s website. The survey asks questions about charging fees for certain things, cutting services and raising property taxes.

A password is required to enter the survey so be sure to call the administrative offices first at 724-3217. The survey closes on March 19.

– Reid Armstrong can be reached at 970-887-3334 ext. 19610 or rarmstrong@skyhidailynews.com.

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