Board proposes $17.2M budget for the school

Seven public officials decided Thursday how $17.2 million raised by the community for local schools will be spent.

The Moffat County School District Board of Education officially will adopt the budget June 24, but board members went over the budget in detail during a budget hearing.

Two Craig residents attended the special meeting to ensure money was appropriated to train a teacher for the specialized education their son needs.

"We will continue to try to meet the needs of each student as they progress forward," Superintendent of Schools Pete Bergmann said.

He said funds had been budgeted to continue the specialized training, but that other remediation techniques and intervention programs have shown to be successful and that funding was appropriated for training in those areas also.

"We don't have an unlimited budget," Assistant Superintendent Joel Sheridan said.

Revenues for the upcoming school year are projected to go

up a slight 2.6 percent --$350,000 -- allowing for the district to increase expenditures by 2 percent.

The budget includes an addition of $200,000 for capital expenditures, which will cause the district to dip into its $6.4 million reserves for nearly $700,000.

The increase in revenues also allowed the district to give a 1 percent pay raise for all school district personnel.

Expenditures for 2004-05 also will include a substantial appropriation for textbooks. Officials implemented a change to the district's math curriculum a year ahead of schedule in an attempt to bolster statewide test scores. Next year, $271,950 will be spent on textbooks.

"We as a board three months ago set some standards for the budget, and from what I see, this budget meets those targets and those goals," school board president John Wellman said.

Under questioning by school board members, finance director Mike Brinks said the 2005-06 budget is reasonable and fiscally sound.

"I thought the principals, Mr. Sheridan and Mr. Bergmann, did an outstanding job of knowing where we need to be and figuring out how to get there."

The district is expecting 2,357 pupils next year, a slight decrease from the 2,379 during the 2003-04 school year. That decrease in students is offset by an increase in the state-allocated per pupil funding, which will go from $5,511 to $5,627.

"I feel that we will be delivering the same quality of education this year -- or better -- than we had in 03-04," Bergmann said. "Historically, the board and the staff have been very fiscally responsibly and I think that reflects well in our fund balance."

Christina M. Currie can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 210 or ccurrie@craigdailypress.com.

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