Moffat County school board considers mill levy override for 2016 | CraigDailyPress.com

Moffat County school board considers mill levy override for 2016

— The Moffat County Board of Education will not seek a mill levy override in the November 2015 election to increase school district funding but is still considering it as an option in 2016.

The board first began discussing a mill levy override in January as a possible solution to Moffat County School District's projected deficits for the 2015-16 school year and the years to follow.

At their monthly meeting April 30, MCSD Superintendent Brent Curtice made a recommendation to the board to move forward in discussion with community stakeholders about proposing a mill levy override and/or a capital bond to voters in 2016.

"We want all the community heads to sit around the table and help us work on this together," Curtice said. "I firmly believe it's a community conversation we all need to have."

A mill levy override would provide additional funding to the district every year by way of an increase in local property taxes, and a capital bond could be used to repair or upgrade old buildings, Curtice said.

Curtice, MCSD Finance Director Tinneal Gerber and the school board are currently working to meet budget deadlines for the 2015-16 budget. The board will review the proposed budget at its regular monthly meeting on May 28, will open the floor to public discussion at a meeting on June 4 and will adopt the final budget at its June 25 meeting.

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Additional state funding allotted to the district through the governor's budget proposal — the amount of which has been a moving target since November — was recently finalized as the Colorado Legislature concluded its 2015 session Wednesday.

The final amount was unfortunately less than a quarter of what was originally proposed, coming in as a total program funding increase of $173,889 over 2014-15 funding, according to the Colorado Department of Education, instead of $762,186, the amount in the governor's proposal in November.

"I was disappointed that the governor's education budget changed significantly," school board member KC Hume said. "It's that ongoing problem that we face again and again and again."

Curtice's recommendations to the board on April 30 for making up the deficit in the 2015-16 budget included:

• Pulling $400,000 from reserves

• Carrying over a $376,000 savings from the 2014-15 budget

• Finding savings through attrition of long-time teachers

• Reducing reliance on substitute teachers for a possible savings of up to $50,000

"We have a lot of work ahead of us as we consider the financial future of the district, and I think that's the reality," Board of Education President JB Chapman said. "People are scattered, there's not been consensus, there's 101 questions… so I think we have lot of work ahead of us."

Contact Lauren Blair at 970-875-1794 or lblair@CraigDailyPress.com or follow her on Twitter @CDP_Education.

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