by Bill Knowles
LA VETA- The La Veta school district is predicting a possible $300,000 shortfall in funding from the state for the 2011-2012 school year. At a special meeting on Saturday, April 2, the school board was able to find around $155,000 in cuts to begin closing the gap. “Setting a budget is a prolonged process, and this is the first step,” RE-2 Business Manager Toni Brgoch said. “We won’t have a set budget until June.”
State funding has been cut from $9,384.58 per pupil for the 2010-2011 school year to $8975.55 per pupil for the 2011-2012 school year, a decrease of around $409 per pupil. In part, the cuts come because the state will not have the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA)-State fiscal stabilization funding available. For the current school year, those funds amounted to $25,873.56.
Other drops in funding come from a $200,000 difference in the total program funding that is developed after the state stabilization formula is factored in. The amount of state funding for the current year amounts to $2.3 million. After stabilization for next year, it is estimated to be around $2.1 million.
Property tax revenues used for education in the 2011-2012 school year are estimated to fall around $60,000 to $1.023 million from $1.088 million during the current school year.
The final payout on a contract with former Superintendent Dave Seaney will immediately yield a $47,000 savings. The payout on the remainder of Seaney’s contract will be completed during the current budget and will not show up in the 2011-2012 school year.
Cuts and adjustments being considered to either staffing or positions are across the board. Savings of $35,000 could come from Secondary Language Arts if social studies and language arts are combined and one position is eliminated. A total of $75,440 in costs are realized in cutting one custodial position, reducing kitchen staff by one person and eliminating two aides. An additional $9,000 in reductions can be found in changing bus routes to combine them, making three routes out of the five currently being run.
The athletics program, along with other extra-curricular activities, will also feel the pinch. Cutting the golf program will save $4,000. The assistant coaches for football, volleyball, both girls and boys basketball and the assistant coach for wrestling and track might lose the stipends they were receiving. This will save $10,260 in next year’s budget.
Stipends for instructors who teach cheerleading, the yearbook, band, choir and musicals might be cut, totaling close to $4,600. The Knowledge Bowl and Friday Music Enrichment could also see cuts totaling $7,000.
Karen Vietti, the music teacher, is retiring, but the school board has expressed a desire to keep the music program. The salary for that position, along with the Title One work is around $27,000 with an additional $15,000 in benefits.
In all, the school board identified close to $155,000 in possible cuts to the 2011-2012 school year RE-2 budget. The next meeting is scheduled for April 11 at the library with the start time set for 5:30 pm when the board will consider hiring a new music teacher and take a closer look at all areas that could see possible cuts.
Gary M. Vezzani was elected Walsenburg’s mayor in Tuesday’s special mayoral election/recall vote. Preliminary results announced Tuesday night show that both Nick Vigil in Ward