Interest free loan available
The Re1J school district is again making use of a state program that offers school districts interest-free loans to help bridge the gap between the start of the school year and property tax collections that start coming in the spring.
At a meeting Monday, June 10, the school board approved a resolution to borrow $2.5 million from the program, which is slightly more than the district needs to make ends meet next year.
“Per the recommendation of the state, we will be prepared to borrow more than is necessary, just in case” district business manager Stephanie Juneau said. “Our cash flow projection indicates that we would borrow a maximum of $2.1 million and the resolution is for $2.5 million.”
The district will start borrowing in December, a month earlier than this school year, because money was moved to, and then spent from, next year’s capital reserve fund in order to maintain the status quo for students.
Board signs up for election
With two seats on the board of education opening up next fall, the Gunnison Watershed School District may make an appearance on the November ballot.
As with most recent school board elections, the open seats may not be hotly contested. In this round, current board president Jim Perkins will step down due to term limits and Crested Butte’s representative to the board, Lee Olesen, is up for reelection. If only one candidate steps up for each two-year term, the board agreed it would be better to save the district $20,000 and sit out the election, although there are still a few other matters that need voter input.
In addition to the open school board seats, the board has been considering a ballot question that could give Crested Butte Community School, which will have grown to nearly 600 students by next year, more representation on the school board.
“If we didn’t have three [candidates], there’d be no reason to spend that much money, even though there are lingering questions that could be asked,” board member Bill Powell said.
Safety saving school district money
District business manager Stephanie Juneau told the school board the district could be eligible to save 5 percent of its $136,000 insurance premium by making safety a focus in the upcoming school year.
Juneau told the board that Pinnacle, the school’s workers’ compensation insurance provider, is basically asking district employees to continue doing what they’re doing, but with better documentation to prove that safety steps are being taken.
Additionally, the district will have to designate a safety coordinator, refine and publicly post a district-wide “safety policy” and host quarterly safety training for staff. There is also some paperwork that needs to be updated to help the district’s administrators identify recurring injuries or common threads between incidents.
“We’ve done pretty much all of these things informally, so we just need to start putting it in writing,” Juneau said. “There will be management and investigation reports to understand if there’s a theme. Slips and falls are common for us, so perhaps more can be done about that.”