Schools plan for higher fuel

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— The South Routt School District's budget for the 2005-06 school year is not very different from last year's.

But unlike past years, no teaching positions had to be cut. In fact, the district added a full-time special education aide, Superintendent Kelly Reed said Tuesday.

The School Board approved the budget at its meeting last week.

The $5.9 million budget was "more or less" what school district officials had projected it to be last spring, Reed said. The bulk of the district's spending -- about 85 percent -- is marked for employees, including teachers, staff members and administrators.

The district's total student enrollment is 399 students, which is two students more than what was projected.

But that doesn't mean there are any extra funds. Like schools across the nation, the district is faced with rising fuel prices. The district has budgeted about $7,000 more than last year for fuel and heating costs.

Whether that additional funding will be enough remains to be seen. School officials will monitor costs each month and make other cuts if needed, Reed said.

The district also is experiencing an unexpected cost that first was seen during the summer. A broken water main caused damage in parts of Soroco High School.

School officials had to locate the leak, and they learned it was caused by a broken main that was supposed to have been shut off years ago, Reed said. A damage assessment was done, followed by repairs to the structure and the interior of the school. The issue caused about $100,000 worth of damage, which was paid for by insurance, except for a $1,000 deductible.

Every dollar counts, but Reed said he's confident the school district is in good shape.

"It's a tight budget this year," Reed said. "We anticipate that we'll be just fine."

-- To reach Susan Cunningham, call 871-4203 or e-mail scunningham@steamboatpilot.com

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