An article in the News-Herald shows that Kirtland schools have a new reality. However, they undoubtedly will be back to the voters in November.
Financial moves made to deal with impact of levy failure in May 8 election
Thursday, May 31, 2018
Kirtland Schools will start the 2018-19 academic year with a variety of personnel cuts and fee increases to address financial woes stemming from voters recently rejecting a levy.
The school board on May 29 voted unanimously to approve a list of cuts and increases recommended by Superintendent Bill Wade. A 5.9-mill additional levy that was on the May 8 ballot would have generated $1,913,928 annually in funds and prevented the district from operating with a deficit budget.
Immediately after the levy defeat, Wade said the school board and district would “need to make some difficult decisions as we look at (the district’s) overall program.”
He elaborated on those efforts in a news release issued May 30.
“As a result of the levy failure, we have been working to find ways to further reduce and control our expenses for our final budget to be approved by the entire board in June,” Wade said.
The district’s new fiscal year begins July 1.
At the May 29 meeting, the board approved the following recommendations:
• Cut 3.5 teaching positions — One elementary, two middle school and a half-position at the high school.
• Cut one classroom aide position.
• Consolidation of bus routes resulting in the elimination of three bus drivers and associated operational costs.
• Cut three athletic coaching positions. The district will not be filling two middle school football coaching positions and one high school track coaching position next year.
• Building and department budgets will be cut by a total of $192,000.
• Increased school and technology fees. Wade has recommended a $5 fee increase at Kirtland Elementary and Middle schools and a $2 fee increase per course at Kirtland High School.
• A new $25 activity fee for grades 6-12 for clubs and nonsport activities.
• An increase in middle school trip fees by $90 per student.
In conjunction with approving the various cuts and increases, the board on May 29 gave its authorization to notify the Kirtland Education Association of the reduction in force.
The School Board Finance Committee will be evaluating other potential reductions, as well as pay-to-participate fees in athletics and marching band, at its June meeting, Wade said.
“Final decisions will be made in alignment with the district budgeting process for final approval at the June 18 Board of Education meeting,” he said. “Notwithstanding the planned cost reductions and new fees, the need for additional funds remains, and the district is considering a variety of options, including the possibility of a revised levy, while being mindful and respectful of the May 8 election results.”
The 10-year levy rejected by Kirtland School District voters in May would have commenced with tax year 2018 and cost homeowners an additional $206.50 per year for every $100,000 of property valuation.
While Kirtland Schools has worked hard to control expenses, the district also has seen a reduction of $831,000 in state funding since the 2011-2012 school year, Wade said prior to the May 8 election.