Board approves District 50 budget, contract

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Adams County School District 50 Board of Education approved the 2013-2014 budget during its June 11 meeting.

The general fund budget is $79 million. There were no cuts to staff and the teacher-student ratio will remain the same as the 2012-2013 school year.

Director of finance for the district, Sandra McClure, said the district tried to stay away from making any cuts in the classroom.

But in order to balance the budget, McClure said the district did have to dip into reserves.

“We are using about $4 million in reserves to balance this budget,” she said.

Not only is the budget approved, but licensed staff and education support professional staff contracts were approved and ratified between the district and the Westminster Education Association.

The contract was ratified on June 14 with 75 percent of licensed staff and over 90 percent of ESP staff approving the agreement.

The approved contract gives licensed staff a .5 percent salary increase and ESP staff a 2 percent salary increase.

Both licensed and ESP staff will also receive vertical step increases to their salary based on their length of service.

During the June 11 meeting, WEA vice president Andy Hartman thanked the board for work done to come to an agreement.

“The WEA really appreciates working with a board that honors a contract,” he said. “Unfortunately not all districts around the country do that, and we certainly appreciate that ours does.”

The district is also picking up the increased PERA costs and is covering health care costs to staff. There are no staff reductions and staff will not see any type of a pay decrease, except for substitute teachers.

“We are lowering our substitute pay, but we are still going to be very competitive with neighboring districts,” McClure said. “I don’t see us having any issue getting subs.”

In the past few months discussions regarding a mill levy override have been floating around the district.

Back in December, Adams County School District 50 fiscal oversight committee suggested the school board consider a mill levy override for this November’s election.

Committee member Bill Christopher said because the board has to continue to reach into reserves, the mill levy override option is something the board needs to think about.

He said the mill levy increase is an important step that needs to be done in the next couple of years.

McClure agrees and said the override would make a difference in terms of balancing a budget without the need to look into reserve funds.

“We can only use reserves for one more year,” she said. “Unless the state comes back better next year, a mill levy increase is needed to keep the status quo.”

The board is still discussing and analyzing whether or not a mill levy override is the best option for the district. The finance committee urged the board to really think about the election before making any decisions.

Two seats on the board will be open for election in November — board president Marilyn Flachman, who is term limited, and Sharon Whitehair, who is not term limited and can run again.

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