Opinions 

4/22/2003

School board announces cuts

By Kendra E. Fish
The Daily Times-Call

Summer school for St. Vrain Valley School District elementary students has been eliminated, field trips will begin to dwindle for all grade levels, and district support for art, music and physical education activities will be reduced.

These are just some of the program modifications that were announced Monday at a school board retreat.

In addition, 22 administrative positions have been eliminated in order for the district to comply with a state-mandated financial-recovery plan.

The program reductions and staff cuts allowed the district to balance its 2003-04 preliminary budget.

“We don’t know what the impact will be until we go through next year,” Superintendent Randy Zila said during Monday’s retreat. “We have tried like the dickens to keep a minimal impact out of the classroom.”

Program reductions amounted to about $1.16 million, or 20 percent of the Department of Learning Services’ budget, according to Russ Ramsey, assistant superintendent of the department.

Since January, Ramsey has been working to reduce programs but not cut them entirely.

One program that was considered for elimination early on was Universal High School.

On Monday, Zila announced the program had been saved for the coming 2003-04 budget year.

“(The staff at Universal High School) was overjoyed,” Zila said. “This program fills an important niche in the district and is important to the students who are in the program.”

The high school, which began as an experiment two years ago, focuses on independent study for students unable to attend normal classes.

Other program modifications include:

• The district will not purchase any new textbooks.

• Funding for district-sponsored activities like the art show, fifth-grade field days and musical events will be reduced.

• Summer school for migrant and homeless students has been eliminated, starting this summer.

• After-school programs at Mountain View Elementary for the homeless has been eliminated.

As part of the financial-recovery plan agreed upon by the school board and state Treasurer Mike Coffman, the district had to cut $2.25 million from its administrative budget.

Eighteen staff positions — such as the fine arts and science coordinators, the human resources director and math coordinator — have been eliminated.

Four other posts will not be refilled after the current occupants resign or retire.

Other modifications include some administrative staff taking a pay cut and others staying on to work half-time after retirement.

Zila said he was able to cut $2.29 million off of this budget due to the cuts.

“The emotions of the employees has varied,” Zila said.

 

 
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