Steamboat Springs School District officials are not ready to discuss planned budget reductions, but early indications are the district will not cut teachers or directors.
Superintendent Cyndy Simms, charged by the School Board with developing recommendations to slash up to $500,000 from next year's budget, said proposed cuts will have as little impact on the district's education program as possible. Simms will announce recommended cuts at Monday's board study session.
"The cuts I'll be making will not directly be affecting the education program," she said. "I'm not recommending any classroom teachers be affected."
While that will come as a relief to all district teachers, other district employees may not breathe as easily.
"They say that all academic programs are safe," Steamboat Springs Education Association President Mike Smith said. "That's great for teachers, but the district's also saying it has to cut salaries from the budget."
District policy states no more than 80 percent of its budget may go to salary and benefits. To maintain that balance, some jobs must be cut.
"Obviously our concern is with the support staff," Smith said. "They really have a large impact. For us to do a good job as teachers, we have to have a good, full support staff. We have to have clean schools and we have to have secretaries for all the work they do."
It appears the district's six directors, who are among its highest paid employees, will survive cuts this year.
The director positions include facilities, food services, content standards, technology, finance and transportation.
The content standards and technology positions, held by Kelly Stanford and Kathleen Nardi, respectively, are funded through the city's half-cent sales tax and the Education Fund Board.
Last week, the School Board accepted a Fund Board gift that will pay Stanford's and Nardi's 2003-04 school year salaries.
Changes in those positions can't occur until the following school year, Simms said.
The food services position, held by Roberta Gill, is almost entirely self-sufficient, Simms said.
Federal monies, in addition to cafeteria revenue and catering service revenue, leaves the district with only a small amount to contribute to help cover salary increases, Simms said.
The finance, transportation and facilities director positions are "more than full-time jobs," Simms said.
"I'm looking at (cutting) positions that have the least amount of contact with people -- adults and students," Simms said. Director positions affect nearly every student and every teacher in the district, she said.
"There have been some creative solutions suggested," Simms said.
One such "solution" might involve the athletics director position, from which Bruce Crowhurst recently resigned. Crowhurst and his secretary make a combined $95,000 a year.
Simms would not say if the district will replace Crowhurst. Steamboat Springs High School Principal Dave Schmid and assistant principal Mike Knezevich are working on a proposal dealing with that position, Simms said.
Simms' recommendations will give the School Board two weeks to decide whether to approve them at its June 16 meeting. The School Board must approve a preliminary budget by June 30, the last day of the current school fiscal year.
Simms predicted additional cuts in coming years unless district enrollment increases and the state's economy drastically improves.
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