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Publish Date: 3/10/2005

St. Vrain could cut 58 jobs
Cost-saving measures may also increase class sizes


LONGMONT — The St. Vrain Valley School District could cut up to 58 teaching or paraprofessional positions next year as a cost-saving measure.

During a work session Wednesday evening, the St. Vrain Valley Board of Education gave district staff the go-ahead to potentially increase class sizes by up to 1.5 full-time equivalent students in the 2005-06 school year, a move that would cut staff but save the school district nearly $3 million in salaries. Another $600,000 could be saved in benefits under the plan, said Tom Garcia, St. Vrain’s assistant superintendent for human resources.

He added that about 39 of those positions could be lost through attrition or retirement, “but we would have to let people go,” Garcia said.

In his presentation to the school board, Garcia listed six options, the harshest of which would have cut up to 75 employees for a savings of $3.9 million.

“We’re facing a tenuous timeline for how we are going to staff the new (school) buildings,” said superintendent Randy Zila. “We have asked staff to, without a mill-levy override, relieve stressor points.”

The final number of cuts that will be necessary to balance next year’s budget has not been determined, according to district chief financial officer Mark Pillmore.

A number of factors need to be considered, including the number of students who will leave district schools to attend two new charter schools that are expected to open in the fall.

“We don’t have firm numbers with our charter schools, Flagstaff Academy and Carbon Valley Academy,” Pillmore said.

Another consideration is per-pupil funding from the state, which is not expected to increase much next year, Pillmore said.

Board member John Caldwell asked Garcia if the staff had considered cutting classified employee positions.

Board President Sandi Searls said that those positions already were very “tight.”

Caldwell said he felt the district should look everywhere for its cuts, not just at teacher and paraprofessional positions.

The board members all agreed that every source of additional funds should be exhausted before any cuts were made.

Garcia told the board it would be easier to plan for the deeper cuts upfront.

It is easier to add people later than to cut additional staff after a school year has started, he said.

In the end, the board recommended staff follow the $3 million option.

Paula Aven Gladych can be reached at 303-684-5211, or by e-mail at pavengladych@times-call.com.

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