Colorado

Jan 11, 2010 11:04 PM by Jeannette Hynes

Pueblo County school district must cut $5 million

Rarely would a school budget work session pack a room, but this economy and the decisions facing Pueblo County School District 70 will impact a lot of lives.  Monday night, teachers, parents, and taxpayers crowded into the board room to watch the budget process.

The "pink slips" teachers were holding at the meeting showed board members what they want: no furloughs and four-day weeks.

The four-day week was the big topic of discussion at the work session.  The administration gave a presentation to the board about the changes the four-day week would bring.  The most significant is the $1 million in savings for the district. 

Many board members showed their concern for the longer and fewer days this new schedule would bring for students, teachers and staff.  Board member Jan Reed says she believes a lot can be done with that fifth day for the community with the proper planning.  Reed says she's also concerned about how student achievement will be impacted and what the district's "exit strategy" would look like if they wanted to go back to five days.

The school district has considered four-day weeks before, but the idea was voted down in April 2009.  Board members say they feel they're starting early enough in the planning process to make better decisions than last year.

D-70 is facing a $5 million shortfall, because of cuts coming from the state.  The board will consider several options over the next few weeks about how to make cuts.  The board has several community members working in committees to study certain budget-cut scenarios.  The board won't make any decisions likely until March.

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