West Grand talks more budget cuts | SkyHiNews.com

West Grand talks more budget cuts

Reid Armstrong
Sky-Hi News
Kremmling, CO Colorado

KREMMLING – The West Grand School District is inviting the community to a budget brainstorming session with the District Accountability Committee (DAC) at 6:30 p.m. tonight, Wednesday, Jan. 5, in the K-8 Community Room at 715 Kinsey Avenue.

The discussion will revolve around possible budget reductions for the 2011-2012 school year. The DAC will be gathering data on what community members value about the district and how best to use its resources.

Superintendent Kevin Chalfant said the district is entering its second year of recissions from the state.

“The state doesn’t have enough money to fund its obligation to the district,” he said. “This feedback from the community will be the beginning of the process.”

Chalfant added that by this time last year the state had provided school districts with “a whole lot more information” than they have this year. “A lot of it didn’t turn out to be as bad as they thought,” Chalfant said. But, if the board anticipates the same cuts as last year – 6.35 percent – it means deeper cuts are in store.

“What we do know is that $124,000 is going away because the mill levy failed (at the polls in November), Chalfant said. “We know it’s going to be that for sure. And if we anticipate similar state cuts from last year, another $43,000 will go away. Then, if we continue with the normal 15-student decline, we’re talking about (a total of) more than $200,000 (in cuts).

The DAC will make its recommendation to the board in March and the district administration will create a preliminary budget in late April.

“By that time, we should have a good idea of what that funding will be,” Chalfant said. The final budget is typically approved in late June.

If the district is possibly losing another $200,000 in funding, what kind of cuts are on the table for consideration?

The most common place to look is an across-the-board cut in supplies, Chalfant said. “It affects every budget in every department.”

Other cuts could include contributions to the capital reserve, summer projects, attrition, community services, use of facilities and rates, activity fees, gifted program, English Language Learners programs, extra-curricular activities and transportation, Chalfant said.

As the DAC creates its list of priorities, Chalfant said: “We want that to be an open process.”

At tonight’s meeting, the community won’t be talking to the board and administration, “They’ll be talking to other community members,” Chalfant said. “This is their opportunity to talk to the people they work with, their neighbors and their friends that are on this committee. These are people who share their values and share their economic situation instead of people with authority and a vote.”

He added that the board places a lot of weight on the DAC’s recommendation.

“This is the best way to have input,” he said.

Once the process is further under way, “We can’t always go back,” he said. “Three months from now you may have a good idea … but first you have to go to DAC then to the board. Time starts running out. You can’t show up at the board meeting where they going to approve the final budget and expect to have your idea considered. This is the way it works today. This is the process for open government.”

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


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