Steamboat Springs School Board reviews deficit budget | SteamboatToday.com

Steamboat Springs School Board reviews deficit budget

Teresa Ristow

— Steamboat Springs School Board members Monday reviewed an updated 2014-15 district budget that leaves it operating at a nearly $74,000 deficit.

Despite the current prediction, Finance Director Dale Mellor said he's estimated tax revenue for the year conservatively and believes the district will end the year without a deficit.

"I get concerned," said board member Scott Bideau. "I understand the explanation, but in a perfect world, I'd like to see in a good economy that we don't have to borrow any money."

Mellor said he thought that more revisions during the next six months would reduce or eliminate any deficit.

"I believe that I have looked at property taxes a bit conservatively," he said. "All in all, I think we will not be in a deficit."

Even with a deficit, the district still would have a $7.8 million ending fund balance, a similar amount to what it had at the end of 2010-11, Mellor said.

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"I think the fund balance helps me," Bideau said.

The budget the board approved at the end of last year predicted a $55,000 deficit.

Budget revisions since then have included staffing changes, including a teacher reduction at Soda Creek Elementary that saves the district $71,000 and six staffing additions costing between $30,000 and about $60,000 apiece.

"We've made a few personnel changes in the special ed department," Mellor said.

Other revisions included a $36,600 increase in telephone costs, a $45,000 increase in legal fees and added costs for strategic planning, board leadership training and the district's demographic study.

Revisions bringing more revenue to the district included a $4,000 increase to the transportation budget from activity groups that require transportation and a $31,000 increase in state English Language Proficiency Act funding.

Budget numbers also were revised to reflect the district's rising enrollment, which will boost the district's budget by $276,000.

Mellor will bring the budget revisions back to the board at a January meeting seeking its approval.

Also discussed at Monday’s meeting:

Colorado Department of Education awards: Superintendent Brad Meeks and school board members congratulated a handful of district staff members who attended the meeting for their role in the recent state awards the district received.

In addition to being Accredited with Distinction for the fifth consecutive time, the district received an English Language Proficiency Act award for its work with English language learners.

"It's probably in my mind, the best award we have every received," said Director of Teaching and Learning Marty Lamansky. "I want to personally applaud the staff."

School Board chair Roger Good encouraged board members to take a break from the meeting to shake hands and thank each staff member who attended Monday's meeting.

Electronic participation policy: The board unanimously voted to approve an updated policy for electronic participation in board meetings. Board members are allowed to participate in as many as two meetings via telephone or other electronic device when extenuating circumstances prevent them from attending the meetings in person.

Revisions to the policy require board members to notify the board president and superintendent in writing, if possible, about meetings they wish to participate in electronically.

To reach Teresa Ristow, call 970-871-4206, email tristow@SteamboatToday.com or follow her on Twitter @TeresaRistow

Also discussed at Monday’s meeting:

Colorado Department of Education awards: Superintendent Brad Meeks and school board members congratulated a handful of district staff members who attended the meeting for their role in the recent state awards the district received.

In addition to being Accredited with Distinction for the fifth consecutive time, the district received an English Language Proficiency Act award for its work with English language learners.

“It’s probably in my mind, the best award we have every received,” said Director of Teaching and Learning Marty Lamansky. “I want to personally applaud the staff.”

School Board chair Roger Good encouraged board members to take a break from the meeting to shake hands and thank each staff member who attended Monday’s meeting.

Electronic participation policy: The board unanimously voted to approve an updated policy for electronic participation in board meetings. Board members are allowed to participate in as many as two meetings via telephone or other electronic device when extenuating circumstances prevent them from attending the meetings in person.

Revisions to the policy require board members to notify the board president and superintendent in writing, if possible, about meetings they wish to participate in electronically.