Steamboat Springs School Board to hear draft budget Monday |

Steamboat Springs School Board to hear draft budget Monday

— Steamboat Springs Superintendent Brad Meeks said Sunday that the preliminary budget proposal he will present to the Steamboat Springs School Board on Monday night will keep vital programs intact and avoid increases to class sizes.

The draft budget would trim $671,760 from the district's budget by reducing the size of the discretionary budgets at each of the district's campuses, eliminating the district's upper-level Montessori program and tapping into the reserve funds of the campuses, among other things. At the same time, the proposal would add back $449,070 worth of enhancements.

"Overall, I think we're very solid financially," Meeks said Sunday. "When you take a look at what to reduce or enhance in your budget, there are always difficult decisions. But we've been able to find ways to maintain our essential programs and staffing and not have to increase class sizes."

Meeks said the district is working under the assumption that it needs to scale back $222,800 from its budget next school year because of a decrease in state funding coupled with increases in contributions to employee public pension funds.

Finance Director Dale Mellor last month estimated a school finance bill working its way through the state Legislature would result in just a $23,000 cut for Steamboat, but Meeks said Sunday that the district also must budget for increasing contributions to its employees' public pension funds and a possible rescission in state dollars.

The School Board held budget workshops and community forums to prioritize funding for next school year.

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The draft budget the board will hear Monday would eliminate Steamboat's upper-level Montessori program and reduce the discretionary budgets of all school campuses by 5 to 10 percent, among other things. The district's elementary school band teacher also would be cut, and the band program would be retooled and taught by existing music teachers at the two campuses.

The enhancements in the preliminary budget include the addition of technology integration staff members, two literacy coaches who would work primarily at the elementary school and a secretary to work at the now-vacant front desk of the district office and assist with multiple departments including finance, human resources, curriculum development and the Yampa Valley High School.

Meeks said the elimination of the district's health and wellness fair — budgeted at $31,500 — after the introduction of a new health clinic coupled with a $5,000 reduction in the cost to perform the district's audit would fund that new position in the front office.

"We've identified reductions, but we also are looking at ways we can improve as a district," Meeks said.

Meeks also is looking for community feedback on three calendar options for the 2013-14 school year. The first proposed calendar would leave the calendar unchanged from the draft adopted for next school year. The second would turn Blues Break into a four-day weekend, and the third proposal also would reduce Blues Break to a four day weekend and start the school after Labor Day. All of the calendar drafts can be viewed at the district's website at

To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210 or email

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