Board gives preliminary OK to budget

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— The Hayden School Board on Thursday adopted a proposed budget for the 2005-06 school year.

The budget includes adjustments discussed and approved by the board earlier this year, including reducing staff at Hayden Valley Elementary School by two teachers and not hiring a full-time principal at that school.

The spending cuts, which also include reducing all district budgets by 10 percent, will help save about $165,000 in the face of declining student enrollment and less state funding.

Without spending adjustments, the district risks reducing its reserves to less than $100,000 or about 2 percent of its total budget by the end of the next school year. Ideally, district officials prefer to have $400,000 to $500,000 or about 7 percent to 8 percent of its total budget in reserves.

The adjustments will leave the district with about $300,000 in projected reserves by the end of 2005-06 school year, Superintendent Mike Luppes said.

"I'm pleased with that from where we are now," he said.

A public hearing and final adoption of the budget is planned for the next regular School Board meeting June 15.

In other business, the School Board hired two new math teachers at Hayden High School and Hayden Middle School. Betty Fink of South Dakota will replace high school math teacher Leif Jacobson, who has resigned.

Fink technically is a first-year teacher but has taught a full year of classes through an internship.

"I'm really excited to get her on board," Principal Troy Zabel said. "She'll be a really good fit with our staff."

The board also hired Jennifer Spurlock as the seventh- and eighth-grade math teacher. Spurlock temporarily took over the position this spring after Ted Moss resigned.

Also Thursday, Zabel corrected a "myth that's been going around" that college-level classes won't be offered during the next school year because of the four-day school week between Thanksgiving and spring break.

He verified that the high school will continue to offer the same college courses through Colorado Northwestern Com--munity College in Rangely.

Zabel also said the high school is working to start a math lab for students who need more help with certain skills.

"I'm really excited about that," he said. "That's an area where we've really needed some intervention to take place."

Zabel also said he is looking to other school districts for advice about how Hayden might strengthen its attendance policy for the next school year.

"Our attendance policy is very weak as a district ... and our attendance has been hurting because of it," he said.

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