Moffat County School Board approves 2010-2011 budget

The Moffat County School Board breathed a sigh of relief Thursday night after unanimously approving, 7-0, the 2010-11 school year budget and financial resolutions.

The final budget is the product of months of discussions throughout the school year due to decreased state and local funding for the school district.

The district budgeted a revenue of $19,350,000, or about $1.5 million less than the previous year. The total anticipated expense is $19,425,000. The $75,00 deficit is the amount it costs to keep the Moffat County High School pool afloat, and will come out of the reserve fund, officials said.

“Obviously it’s been an eight-month process and it felt a little long at times, but this is where we’re at,” district finance director Mark Rydberg said during the meeting.

Rydberg said the board felt comfortable approving the budget Thursday because of the process of feedback and discussion that began in January.

“I think the process that was laid out led to a budget that will be good for the students of Moffat County School District,” he said. “There obviously were some painful reductions … but I think the process, the length and the feedback opportunities helped the board feel comfortable with approving this budget.”

The largest dollar amount cut was from the capital reserve fund, reducing capital projects by about $300,000.

Rydberg called that reduction a short-term solution, made possible by the 2007 bond issue and a host of projects that were paid for before the budget reductions.

Another large cut was the reduction of six full-time equivalent paraprofessionals in the intervention program.

Rydberg said all of the cuts were made through attrition and reduced hours.

Only one staff member was let go, he said.

Moffat County High school assistant principal Michael Silverman was laid off, and the remaining assistant principal, Travis Jensen, will take over his duties.

Still, district officials hope the impact will remain as far as possible from the classroom.

“We did not let go any teachers,” Rydberg said. “We weren’t forced to cut classroom teachers so class sizes will be very similar to this year and past years.

“From a student’s perspective, we hope the cuts will be hard to see.”

During the meeting, board president JoAnn Baxter said she was satisfied with the budget discussion process.

“I want to thank everyone who made a monumental effort to get us through that,” she said. “Hopefully it will not be as difficult next year, but there are no promises.”

Baxter also asked Rydberg about possible forecasts for the 2011-12 fiscal year.

“Unless you start to see the economy cruising, we’ll start to hear estimates in November and I’m sure they won’t be all that favorable,” Rydberg said.

“If the state’s economy rebounds, hopefully that will lead to getting back on the current funding schedule for K though 12 education,” he said. “If it doesn’t rebound, we’ll be in a similar situation, looking at less state funding.”

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