D51 Lays Out Budget Cuts; Positions Cut But No Layoffs

By: Tim Ciesco Email
By: Tim Ciesco Email

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) - School District 51 says it plans to eliminate 42 teaching and certified staff positions to help close a projected $10 million budget hole.

That and other proposed cuts were outlined in an email sent by Superintendent Steve Schultz to district staff Monday.

District 51 spokesperson Jeff Kirtland tells 11 News there will be no layoffs and the district will eliminate the positions simply by not refilling any positions left open by teachers who are retiring or who leave the district.

He says the district is anticipating 80 retirements at the end of this school year.

The district is also planning on slashing funding for the Valley East School and Glade Park Elementary. Kirtland says though unfortunate, district leaders ultimately felt the students in those programs could be redistributed to other existing programs in the district.

"Until now, the prior reductions were achieved by changing the way we do business with minimum impact to schools and programs," Schultz wrote in the email. "As we face the 2011 / 2012 budget, we must look at the programs we are funding and determine the most cost effective way of moving forward. We will no longer have the ability to fund all that we have in the past."

Officials say this first round of reductions represents about half the cuts they will need to make. The full list of proposed cuts is as follows:

Reduction in utility expenditures: $625,000

Eliminate payment for School Resource Officers: $100,000

Discontinue funding of Valley East Program: $210,000

Re-Organize Curriculum and Instructional Depts. with reduced staffing levels (administrative / TOSA positions): $568,000

Reduce District funded extended summer learning program: $800,000

Discontinue funding of Glade Park Elementary operations: $110,000

Restructure School to Career Program: $220,000

Increase high school and middle school athletic fees: $112,000

Reduce Teacher / Certifed Staff positions: $2,184,000

Eliminate Participation in Legislative Coalition: $18,000

TOTAL: $4,947,000

Officials say cuts could change based on the amount of funding the district receives from the state. State leaders are currently working to approve a state budget.

The School Board will officially adopt a budget for next school year by June.

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  • by amazed on Apr 22, 2011 at 02:15 AM
    What amazes me is that so much is being focused on the money, not the children. There are people with masters degrees beimg degraded to working atdead end jobs like Mcdonalds and yet they do what has to be done. No, they don't like it but it is all that is out there. EVERYONE is hurting in some way right now. Teachers are valuable yes. I totally agree , but so are law enforcement and nurses and such. There have been lay offs in the department of human services, noone threw a fit! Law enforcement officers have lost due to the economy. I say stop bickering about things that can't be changed because it is everywhere. As if the school board is going to come and look at all of us bickering? It is a sad thing to lose a teacher and contrary to what is being said, media true to form is lieing. 2 teachers at my childrens schools will be let go at the end of the year too. It was once said it takes a village to raise a child, maybe that village is a bit empty now! (hope fast freddy doesnt come to get me now too.
  • by wow on Apr 21, 2011 at 12:34 AM
    i am not sure whether most of you were raised in grand junction or where but the whole idea of class size and lower education makes me laugh.... when I grew up i was in a big city we had larger classes then i have ever seen here and one teacher and we all turned out just fine ..... ive read over everyones thoughts and somewhere someone said something about pay and such that is right it is about money... priVate schools used to be for the ones that could afford the smaller classrooom and higher standards and public schools were and have never been at that level because of the large amount of chilren to teacher ratio... i say if its so bad go to private schools and pay to get the best and leave the government to fail our kids somewhere else if not welcome to what free means ... there is always a price for free ! in other countries medical care is free but people still get insurance because they get the better one bed rooms and more one on one where the free care is waiting in long lines and pods of people in one room at hospitals just what we get here in public schools we get what we pay for ... nothing@
    • reply
      by Fast_Freddy on Apr 21, 2011 at 05:21 AM in reply to wow
      Your punctuation and capitalization skills really drive home the downside being educated in large classrooms.
    • reply
      by Rich on May 24, 2011 at 10:30 PM in reply to wow
      The difference between then and now is that kids are tested on EXPENSIVE standardized tests and kids that used to be in the regional center are in the reg class. When I was in school here, 1st grade was writing your name and socializing, now its reading writing and math. Yeah, increased class size is fine, just don't expect kids to pass those stupid, unreasonable test when they are not ready. Way back when, 80% if our kids were not from disfunctional families. Tough times: pay teachers less, give them more kids, give them more disfunctional kids, test those kids, and then tie teacher pay to test scores. When our kids start dropping out, crime rises, and those who become burdens on society quit paying taxes to pay for education, then we'll see how deep a hole we can dig ourselves into. Yeah, your right. We will get what we pay for. By the way, I am a teacher, a native of GJ, and a parent. Times are tough...but we'll get through it...we have no choice.
  • by Same old song and dance Location: Junction on Apr 20, 2011 at 10:43 AM
    It’s real simple why the public is so quick to point fingers at teachers and their union. EVERYTIME there is a problem, they ALWAYS say give us more money. EVERYTIME time labor costs are addressed it’s adding/subtracting the number of teachers not the cost of teachers. NEVER is it cut every teachers salary a little to save the total number of teachers. You want to know why class room size is always going up? Because individual teachers pay NEVER goes down - REGARDLESS of the amount of tax money available to pay for public education. Head count is the only thing their union contract allows them to adjust! Remind us again about how those teachers are there for our children. Remind us again about that snappy little bumper sticker “Kids First” or the license plate “education first”. HOGWASH! That’s what they’d like everyone to buy into so everyone keeps their checkbook/wallets open. But in the end, when push comes to shove and it’s their economic interests verses our children’s education, make no mistake where the teachers – through their union –will stand. Welcome to increased class size, fewer program offerings, fewer extracurricular activities and older/outdated curriculum materials. That’s why we should “Thank A Teacher”.
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Apr 20, 2011 at 08:09 PM in reply to Same old song and dance
      " But in the end, when push comes to shove and it’s their economic interests verses our children’s education, make no mistake where the teachers – through their union –will stand."-Well said Sir or Madam.
      • reply
        by rich on May 24, 2011 at 10:32 PM in reply to
        Let's see you teach 25 8 year olds out of the goodness of your heart, for free.
    • reply
      by Research 1st on Apr 21, 2011 at 09:32 AM in reply to Same old song and dance
      How about you do a little research on lowering the cost of teachers. Last year every teacher in the district had a reduction in salary....not just once, not just twice, but 3 times!!! 1st, the school calender was reduced by 2 days, which cut (on average) every teachers pay about $300 for the year( sure not much). Then unlike every year before, salaries were frozen. Which means there was no raise to any teacher in the district for years of service. This amounted to about $1800 per teacher per year. The 3rd cut was no cost of living increase. Just like most every other job in America teachers get anywhere from a 1 to 2% cost of living increase. Well that was not given thus another $1000 - $1500 per teacher per year. As it look this will be done again this year. So before you say teachers dont get a cut in pay...do a little research!!!! Something to think about also...where would any of you be without a teacher? No Teachers = No Education = ?????
      • reply
        by Wrong on Sooo many counts on Apr 21, 2011 at 12:48 PM in reply to Research 1st
        Please tell me that you're not a public sector teacher! But based on your arguments, and I'm sure what you think is logic, something tells me you are. Only with a public sector mentality is a decreased work load, thus decreased pay, considered a cut in salaries. Who suffered in this decreased work load? The children’s education, that’s who. Only with a public sector mentality is a freeze in pay raises for longevity considered a salary cut. Only with a public sector mentality is not receiving a COLA considered a salary cut. It’s this type of thinking that has gotten this city, state and county into a financial crisis. If the PROJECTED public sector spending on a program is slated to go up 10% and it only goes up 5% you’ll hear these types of thinkers (or non-thinkers) complain about a 50% cut in program spending! Try this on. How about teachers work 12 months out of the year for their current salary – you know, like the rest of us. Then let’s cut it back to 8 ½ months, or the current work load. And then we can say the teachers received a 20% pay INCREASE.
        • reply
          by Wrong on Sooo many counts on Apr 21, 2011 at 12:54 PM in reply to Wrong on Sooo many counts
          Sorry for the typo - the pay raise would be 29.17%. With such a hefty raise, I know they'd be extremely happy.
        • reply
          by rich on May 24, 2011 at 10:38 PM in reply to Wrong on Sooo many counts
          Yeah, Ill work 12 months for the same $ with a 5 year BA and a MA, and make 30 thousand a year with crappy benefits. If this is true, youll have stupid people teaching your kids cause only a stupid person would stay in the teaching career.
      • reply
        by Think First on Apr 22, 2011 at 06:45 AM in reply to Research 1st
        Hey Research 1st. You want to see what a real world cut in income looks like? Read the headline in today's sentinel. "Incomes Fall 4.1%" I'm sure those that experienced this REAL reduction in pay would have LOVED to have suffered like you and just stay flat. And they are the ones paying for YOU! You ungratful gadfly!
  • by truth on Apr 19, 2011 at 10:31 PM
    Funny how they said there will be no layoffs and I know of two that got laid off. And they will be looking for a new job. Why not be honest?
  • by BS Location: BS GJ on Apr 19, 2011 at 06:56 PM
    No Layoffs?? Really? I am a teacher in the district...we were specifically told that our school needed to cut 3 positions.....and as of today 2 of those cuts have been made....will the ones who get cut find another job in district? good question.....my guess is no.... and yes i would agree there are many "short" timers in the district just doing time to retire which is doing a HUGE diservice to the kids!
  • by me on Apr 19, 2011 at 01:41 PM
    i think society itself is showing what we have made itself today.. we spend our entire lives teaching our kids to look both ways when crossing the street and then when they hit college its no longer needed they can just walk right out in the street ... we try to teach our kids to get a good education and stay in school and go to college to get the better jobs and then they realize in about 10th grade that they can go work in the oil fields and make 3xs what a college degreed person would make without a degree...we teach them to follow the rules and abide by them and yet if we let them turn on the news they see yet another officer getting in trouble for not doing it ... weve taken out any type of education for sex ed and so kids grow up and we have to worry that instead of playing barbies they are going to be having babys.. the list goes on and on but thing is parents are the first step to protecting and teaching our kids but when they go to school we expect it to be like when we were growing up and teachers went to recess with their students not sat in the playrooms gossiping .. kids were taught manners in school also and there didnt need to b a cop at every school because the kids knew the princiPAL was going to handle it...and we knew when we got home after being in his office we were gonna get it from our parents but we cant do that anymore either cuz a social worker will show up at our door and accuse us of child abuse... if you ask me the real issue isnt just the schools its more the government way too much money and wayyy too much power!!! how about take money where it truly isnt needed before kids from africa are smarter then our american kids...as for mcdonalds if we arent careful we will be lucky if our kids can even read the application at this point now a days cant even say oh my gosh they have to say things like omg and bff
  • by Anonymous on Apr 19, 2011 at 10:42 AM
    Thank you, thank you, thank you! Teachers are NOT the overpaid, underworked harlots that so many people in this Valley seem to think we are. Do your research, people! You want quality education? You've got to pay the people that are willing to do it. I started out at Mesa State with 80 people in my Intro to Teaching class. EIGHT of us graduated with a degree in Teaching. The other 72 moved on to $greener$ pastures. Do your research, quit complaining, get INTO your child's classroom, and while you're there, THANK your child's teacher for doing the job he/she does.
    • reply
      by Grateful on Apr 21, 2011 at 07:00 PM in reply to
      I do thank my childern's teachers multiple times a year. But we also leave Christmas gifts for our garbage men. Buy enstrom's for the nice people that check my bags at the airport throughout the year. Thank the bankers that my local loans are with. And the neighbors that help provide a safe community for all of our childern. For your information, everyone is underpaid. Just ask them. Everyone is overworked. Just ask them. And I suggest that you do your research and compare what our total compensation cost of public sector employees are, specifically the teachers, vs. their private sector counterparts and then come back and post. Maybe you'll be saying thanks.
      • reply
        by Rich on May 24, 2011 at 10:49 PM in reply to Grateful
        I'll bet you garbage men, airport workers, and bankers don't work 10 to 20 hours a month without getting paid because they want to do a good job. Plus, they aren't required to pay for classes out of their own pockets after they have spent money getting a batchelors degree. Teachers teach because they love the job, and yes, they could go elsewhere. It would just be nice to be appreciated and supported by parents. Volunteer? Anyone?
  • by Robin on Apr 19, 2011 at 10:05 AM
    You people need to do your research. It is not the District's fault that we are cutting parts of education...blame the our state government for the majority of the cuts. Hickenlooper cut $375 million dollars from K-12 education. The money that the district is not getting from the state has to be cut somewhere. Administration as well as teachers are seeing an impact. And if you also read the salary schedules from the District website, you will see that Jeff Kirkland does not make $180,000 a year. Do your research before you start blaming the wrong people. You should be applauding our teachers for education our kids. Colorado ranks 12th with an average starting salary for teachers at $35,000 while the national average is $44,000.
  • by Matt on Apr 19, 2011 at 09:20 AM
    Funny that we see all these cuts to classroom teacher positions and not one mention of reductions in the ranks of the administration. Take a peek at District 51's list of departments and you'll find at least one secretary, if not two, in nearly EVERY department. Methinks the district is far too top-heavy.
  • by TLC on Apr 19, 2011 at 06:14 AM
    Do the right thing and send them to private school or home school them. Its not a function of government to educate.
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