More cuts could be coming
The Gunnison RE1J School District approved its budget for the 2011/12 school year on Monday, June 13, after finding more than $1.1 million to cut in another year of reduced and rescinded state and federal funding.
Next year Gunnison County schools will run a little leaner, as the district was forced to shed a dozen staff positions for the upcoming year—including all elementary counselors, one high school counselor and a librarian—cut the elementary Spanish program and a district librarian and undertake a somewhat contested merger of the alternative Gunnison Valley School with the Gunnison High School.
The district also hopes to save some money by trading more costly modes of transportation for a small fleet of 15-passenger buses available to coaches willing to get the necessary training and drive them to sporting events. Spending less on the district’s food service will save even more money, along with cuts in spending wherever they can be found.
At the same time many of the expenses the district has no control over, like insurance and utilities, are on the rise. While the district settles, again, into a new financial reality, a “financial cliff,” as school board president Anne Hausler refers to it, looms in the future.
The good news at the start of summer was that the state would be continuing its interest free loan program that the school district uses to cover expenses to the tune of $2 million while it waits for a property tax distribution at the end of the year. The program had been slated for elimination.
Coaches, start your engines.