Superintendent to present staff cuts to school board

By Kendra E. Fish
The Daily Times-Call

LONGMONT — State Treasurer Mike Coffman said Tuesday that St. Vrain Valley School District officials “are not simply on top of the financial-recovery plan, but ahead of it.”

Coffman’s response came after Roger Driver, the district’s financial consultant, and Joanne Harbert, director of finance, laid out a preliminary draft of the 2003-04 budget at a school board retreat Monday afternoon.

According to the duo, the district has cut its loan payment to about $5.1 million from an anticipated $7 million to be paid back by June 30, 2004.

Coffman OK’d about $9.8 million in interest-free state loans Dec. 20 in order for the district to make its January payroll. Additionally, Coffman gave the district time to pay the loans back beyond the June 30 deadline.

“The great news is that Superintendent Randy Zila and financial consultant Roger Driver and their team have moved to resolve their problems without any further intervention from me,” Coffman said in a statement.

According to Driver and Harbert, the preliminary ending balance for the 2003-04 budget will be $0.

But climbing out of the deficit came with a price.

On Monday, Zila announced staff and program cuts that will help the district reach the break-even point.

At tonight’s meeting, Zila will again present administrative staff cuts and reductions and district program modifications to the board of education.

On Monday, Zila announced he had found a way to cut $2.29 million from administrative staff posts by eliminating 22 positions and tweaking 19 others.

Another $1.16 million will be saved by modifying some district educational or extracurricular programs.

For instance, the district will not offer monetary support for teachers who attend educational conferences, it will eliminate literacy summer programs at secondary schools, and it will reduce instructional supplies and materials.

These items will be presented during the “reports” segment of the board’s meeting, which begins at 7 tonight at 395 S. Pratt Pkwy., Longmont.

At 5 p.m., prior to the regular meeting, Harbert and Driver will present in detail the 2002-03 budget through March to the board during a work session.

The board also will hear from the Long Range Facility Planning Committee on student projection numbers and when to time the construction of the two high schools approved in the 2002 voter-approved bonds.

The board also is set to approve designating May 4 to 10 as “Teacher Appreciation Week” and May 5 to 9 as “Substitute Teacher Appreciation Week.”

Kendra Fish can be reached at 303-776-2244, Ext. 211, or by e-mail at kfish@times-call.com


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