Possible teacher ‘adjustments’ not needed in Eagle County Schools, thanks to extra cash, spending cuts | VailDaily.com

Possible teacher ‘adjustments’ not needed in Eagle County Schools, thanks to extra cash, spending cuts

Local schools spent less, earned more, offsetting lower revenue from smaller student numbers

Eagle County Schools and the school board did not spend a couple million bucks last year, and enjoyed an extra couple million bucks in revenue this year, and had enough money to put off any teacher layoffs that would have stemmed from slightly smaller student numbers.
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GYPSUM — Eagle County Schools is enjoying the equivalent of finding 50 bucks in its jacket pocket.

The district was set to spend $2.2 million it didn’t have to and is enjoying an additional $2 million it did not expect — mostly from higher-than-expected interest income.

The extra money will help keep teaching jobs where they are, instead of moving teachers around the district after this year’s student enrollment was lower than projected. It will also buy some copiers and invest in curriculum.

“These are considered one-time dollars. We don’t expect this to happen every year,” said Sandy Mutchler, the school district’s chief operating officer.

How this worked

For the 2019-20 year, Eagle County schools received more revenue than projected from higher-than-expected interest income, additional specific ownership tax collections such as vehicle license plate fees, property taxes, preschool tuition, and a grant reimbursement, Mutchler explained.

On the other side of the balance sheet, the district’s 2018-19 budget called for $2.2 million in spending that did not happen and carried forward to this year’s budget. Most of that was salaries — positions that were either not posted or not filled, as well as the transition in district leadership where positions also went unfilled, Mutchler explained.

Just in time

The money showed up at an opportune time.

Student enrollment for this school year is 195 students short of projections, and since the state’s portion of school funding is based largely on the number of pupils, Eagle County Schools was looking at $1,053,000 less in state funding for this school year.

The school board and district staffers talked about ways to cover that shortfall, including staffing “adjustments.”

It didn’t take long for word to reach individual schools.

“Two weeks ago we had people from schools talk to us about how they would be devastated by any staffing changes at this point of the school year,” school board member Felicia Battle said. “Principals told the board how cutting staff would hurt the students.”

The board won’t have to make adjustments after all, at least not this year.

“This addresses that, but only for one year,” Battle said.

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