answered by school superintendent
l. The Cottonwood Board of Trustees set a supplemental levy at $150,000.00 for the upcoming 2009-10 school year. Some patrons will ask, "where did this figure come from and why is it $60,000.00 less than last year?
The District administrators have been working on how and where to pare down our budget. We came up with about $175,000.00 in cuts that we thought would not have a huge impact on students and the goals that we work to achieve. The remaining number was $275,000.00. A successful levy will leave a balance of an estimated 125,000.00. We will transfer this amount from the Craig/Wyden Forest Funds. We feel that this is in the best interest of our students as to not cut into programs and to relieve the district patrons of levying more during a national and state financial crisis. (refer to the board meeting article to see cuts.)
2. What will the Craig / Wyden forest funds be used for?
From past experience I have termed this money as "soft". Meaning it's not going to be there forever. It is not the best practice to use this as part of our budget. We are going against our best intentions this year, due to economic hardships and we are projecting some major changes in the near future when we close a school building. The best usage at this time for these funds is to fortify our buildings to make sure that they are in the best shape possible. That way we should not have to run a bond for some time in the future.
3. The district received $600,000.00 this year and that amount will decrease by %10 each year for the next three. We are not sure if we will be receiving any of these funds in the future, which is why it is so crucial to utilizes these in the best manner. Here are some money projections for our facilities:
a. Heaters and ventilators at Middle School
b. Replacing all single pain windows at Middle School and High School
c. Replacing boilers at the High School and Elementary School
d. Replace ventilators in High School
e. Rewiring Middle School and High School for technology / computer purposes f. Upgrading electrical systems in High School and Middle School
g. Replace gym floor in High School
One can easily see the necessity of keeping our buildings up. I have often indicated that in education we are only as good as our facilities are.
4. Is our goal still to close a building by the school year 2011-12?
If our enrollment continues to stay around 22-25 per grade level, we will pursue closing a building. We can not justify keeping a building open when it houses only 4 or 5 classrooms. As we presented in a previous article, we are working towards a comer at the intersection in 20 II at which time the enrollment will indicate which direction we turn. Closing a building or continuing as is. Regardless of the direction we go, the needs identified in the previous question have to be met. With proper planning we can solidify these needs as we prepare to change. Although, if our enrollment increases we will be in great shape for future growth if needed.
5. What does the state's future hold for school districts?
It is very difficult to predict what may happen in the near future, but even now we are seeing some rays of hope towards an economic turn around. As the state becomes healthy, we will be in even better shape since we will have made the necessary cuts and we will have our facilities in very good condition. We now have an exceptional staff with some great students. We have very supportive parents as well as community. Our children are flourishing in academics as well as athletics. We have an abundance of good, solid programs that challenge all students.
Please remember, we have no secrets when it comes to finances or plans or goals. If you have any questions please call my office 208-962-3971. I would be willing to meet with anyone who may have more questions.