Are school district budget increases misleading?

By: Ian Margol Email
By: Ian Margol Email

Grand Junction, Colo. (KKCO) --- After 4 years of budget constraints, School District 51 is finally able to breath a sigh of relief.

According to officials with the district, for the first time since the 2008-2009 school year, no reductions had to be made for this school year.

But the boost in funds may create a false sense of progress.

In the last four years, the district has cut out a five days of the school year and funding per student is over $1,000 less than what it should be.

The district has done its best to avoid making students and their families take the brunt of the economic impact.

School bus service was altered, programs were cut and at numerous schools across the district, funding for staff such as reading specialists was eliminated, reducing the amount of time students could spend working directly with an adult.

Many parents have noticed that this year, students are going back a week early.

"One of the areas that our board has challenged us with is to say is the current calendar the best calendar," says District 51 Chief Academic Officer, Bill Larsen. "We looked at other systems and saw that sometimes the long summer break does cause there to be a break in learning."

The extra week will be put into spring break, making it two weeks long instead of just one; and next school year, parents will be dropping their kids off at school another week earlier. That week will be added to fall break making it two weeks long as well.

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