Hayden schools seek input on budget | SteamboatToday.com

Hayden schools seek input on budget

School Board to hear update tonight on budget feedback effort

Jack Weinstein

Hayden High School Prin­cipal Troy Zabel will update School Board members tonight about the district's progress in distributing surveys to engage the community in the 2010-11 school year budget process.

A budget committee made up of district stakeholders developed the survey intended to help the school district address a projected budget shortfall next school year of nearly $495,000. That projection represents almost 10 percent of the district's approximately $5 million general fund budget for the current school year. The estimated shortfall is the result of expected decreases in state funding.

The school district sent letters to about 1,200 community members and 75 staff members Feb. 8 and 9 that provided information about the projected shortfall and how to complete the survey. The deadline for completing the survey is Friday.

"Your input will be used to help advise us in the tough decisions that have to be made," the letter stated.

After the surveys have been returned and the results compiled, Zabel said they would be presented to staff, school improvement teams and the district improvement team for additional feedback.

Zabel said the goal is to gauge "where the community's values lie" as Hayden looks at making significant budget cuts next school year.

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"It gives everyone a voice or it gives everyone the potential for a voice," Zabel said.

For example, Zabel said the survey asks whether the district should make cuts or charge additional fees.

It also asks whether community members would support a mill levy override that would assess an additional 3.32 mills to generate about $344,000 in annual revenue. A $200,000 home would be assessed an additional $66.40 a year in property taxes if such an override is approved by voters.

And the survey asks whether community members would support a half-cent sales tax for education to generate an estimated $110,000 in additional revenue. A half-cent sales tax would bring Hayden's sales tax rate to 8.4 percent, equaling the current rate in Steamboat Springs.

The survey is accessible online by going to http://www.haydenschools.org and clicking on the "Community Budget Survey" tab at the top of the home page. Zabel said the district's school computer labs were made available last week and early this week for community members who don't have Internet access.

Zabel said hard copies of the surveys in English and Spanish also are available at each school and the district administrative office.

As of Tuesday, Zabel said 84 surveys had been returned and that district staff had completed more than 30. Zabel said the district hopes to get 30 percent of the surveys returned, or about 360.

After the district has met with staff, school and district improvement teams, all feedback and survey results will be presented to the School Board in early March, Zabel said. He said district administrators then would use the results and feedback to draft a preliminary budget to present to the School Board at its March 17 meeting.

Also tonight, bus driver Tammie Mader is scheduled to present School Board members with an idea to coordinate bus services for athletic events, state competitions and tournaments in which all Routt and Moffat county school districts participate. Mader said the coordination could save each district money. Mader said she's starting in Hayden before presenting her idea to the other districts.

The School Board also is scheduled to go into executive session at the end of the meeting to discuss personnel issues relating to principal evaluations and the evaluation for Superintendent Greg Rockhold.

If you go

What: Hayden School Board meeting

When: 6 p.m. today

Where: Room 165 at Hayden High School, across the hall from the school office

Accessing the survey

Click here. Hard copies of the survey are available in English and Spanish at each Hayden school and the district administrative offices. The deadline for completing the survey is Friday.