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RE-2 faces budget cuts

by Shane Clouse
LA VETA — The RE-2 district is facing the fourth year of significant budget cuts. The board relys on the administrative staff to recommend areas for budget cuts, and this year, it will be a daunting task.
Four years ago, the budget cut was 9.8%; this year the projected cuts are expected to be set at 17.6%. The depth of the current cuts makes the idea of future cuts difficult. The district has not bought new textbooks for the past four years, the schools have done without a library/media specialist, and the custodial staff has been working with a skeleton crew.
The district is facing a budget shortfall of $35,000 by the end of 2013, and there are few suggestions to decrease spending and increase revenue. Travel may be reduced or clubs and teams may help cover the cost for their trips through fundraising. Administrative and staff travel for continued education will also take a hit.
To help increase revenue, the board is continuing to seek grant monies. The projects involving the playground and Garland street are to be funded entirely by grants.
The RE-2 board is also researching the possibility of a mill levy override to increase the revenue. President of the board Sam Law said, “Moving the conversation forward doesn’t mean that we will do it by this fall.” At the June 25 meeting, the board will fully address the budget cuts.
In other news, the board accepted a $20,000 grant from the Colorado Legacy Foundation to increase physical activity and improve nutrition in the school district. The payments will be broken into two years, $10,000 in 2013 and $10,000 in 2014.
The board also approved the summer school staff and programs. There are several programs available that include the arts such as drama, dance, and ceramics. Some programs will concentrate on daily living skills as well as survival skills. Educational programs in math, Spanish, robotics, and credit recovery are the mainstays of the summer program.
An update about the athletic bus was given. The district still owes about $40,000 on the bus and it is still under warranty. The bus is designed to burn fuel cleaner, but at times the bus needs to stop and let students off so it can burn leftover fuel. The district is working with the manufacturer and the retailer to come up with an acceptable solution.