Gunnison RE1J School district waiting to commit to mill levy override

Decision expected June 16

The committee tasked with making a recommendation to the Gunnison Watershed school board is set to deliver its options for overcoming the school funding deficit on June 2. The preferred options will likely include a question on the November ballot to override the district’s mill levy.


At a meeting on Wednesday, May 14, superintendent Doug Tredway gave the committee a presentation on the latest budget numbers and the changes that have to come about in the district to make those numbers work.
The first draft of the budget would require the district to tap into its reserve fund for $120,000 and reduce the teaching force by two, including a math interventionist at Crested Butte Community School and a Gunnison High School teacher. The state also reduced its $2 million in cuts to the district by $200,000, Tredway said.
Kristi Hargrove heads the committee contingent from the north end of the valley and points out that the recognition CBCS recently received from U.S. News and World Report for high achievement was in part a recognition of improved math scores.
“Part of the reason our math scores are coming up is the math interventionist. We will no longer have a math interventionist in Crested Butte,” Hargrove said. “We’re going backwards.”
In addition to losing valuable staff positions in the schools, Hargrove said the committee is recognizing the unlikelihood of any more financial help coming from the state level.
“We have to recognize the fact that while the state did give a little bit this year in legislative session, it was a drop in the bucket, only 10 percent of what we’ve lost,” she said. “This was a year they could have done more had they been willing to and had the urgency. Instead it was token at the end of the day.”
The committee will present several options to the school board at a meeting on Monday, June 2. “There are three options. The third option is to do nothing. That option is not a good one and it will not be the recommendation of the mill levy committee to do nothing,” Hargrove said.
The school board is expected to make a final decision about the ballot question June 16.
The district will have to inform the state election board of its decision, and supply ballot language, by July 25.

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