Durango School District 9-R Board of Education members heard about a tight budget situation taking shape for the 2019-20 school year as state lawmakers debate how much aid they’ll provide for education spending.
At their regular meeting Tuesday, board members also got an earful from employees who commented about their struggles with family budgets as they deal with increases in health-insurance premiums.
Superintendent Dan Snowberger said the district is set see stable revenue funding from the state if full-day kindergarten is funded by the Colorado Legislature.
Snowberger estimated funding for full-day kindergarten by lawmakers in Denver would bring in $1.2 million for the district, but the district is set to lose about $858,000 in funding for rural schools and another $120,000 in funds for a reading-intervention program from the state.
Currently, the state funds half-day kindergarten, and 9-R offers full-day kindergarten by paying for the other half out of its general fund.
The school district is also looking at an increase of $1.5 million in salaries for teachers who are set to move up in the salary scale.
The district expects flat pupil numbers next school year.
“Funding is not positive at this point,” Snowberger said.
He added if school board members are examining new areas to fund for the school year, funding would have to come by making cuts in other parts of the budget.
An increase in health-insurance premiums, which recently went into effect to cover a shortfall in the district’s health fund, also drew comments from several district employees.
Heidi Jordan, an English teacher at Durango High School, said her monthly health insurance costs had increased $469 a month.
“I’ve never had a year when I went backwards,” she said.
Anthony Bonanno, a teacher at Riverview Elementary School, said this is the first year he’s wondered if it was financially viable for him to continue with the district.
“That was a scary thought,” he said.