School budget meetings draw hundreds
EAGLE, Colorado – Hundreds of people packed two meetings Monday to encourage the school board to save their local schools, as the board tries to find $5.5 million in budget cuts.
In fact, tonight’s school board meeting has been moved to the Eagle town hall to accommodate the expected crowd.
The school board is running a series of budget meetings as it tries to find ways to offset cuts in state funding, as well as declining property tax revenues. The meetings have been so crowded with people advocating for their schools that they’ve been moved to larger rooms – the Eagle County building last month and Eagle town hall tonight.
Tonight’s meeting comes on the heels of two meetings Monday – one at Battle Mountain High School and one at Eagle Valley High School – to inform people about what they might expect when the budget cuts hit.
Among the potential cuts are closing and consolidating schools.
More than 100 Avon Elementary School parents showed up Monday night, pointing out that their school is truly a neighborhood school. More than 80 percent of Avon elementary students walk to school, according to the school district.
Avon Elementary School offers students the opportunity to learn about and be a part of a new culture, said Avon elementary teacher Leticia Harrison.
“This place is so much more than a school for so many people,” Harrison said.
All but 20 kids walk to school, said Melisa Rewold-Thuon, Avon elementary principal.
“That enables kids to participate in after-school programs and Saturday school,” she said.
Ironically, the Colorado Department of Education is nominating Avon elementary as a national Blue Ribbon School, based on its rapidly improving standardized test scores.
The $5.5 million in this year’s cuts comes on the heels of cutting $9 million and 100 jobs over the last two years.
Much of that $5.5 million would have to be cut from the school district’s projected $48 million general fund.
The school board will get there through a combination of job cuts – up to 100 – and other cuts across the budget.
Red Canyon High School and the Vail Ski and Snowboard Academy were both pulled off the chopping block during the school board’s last budget meeting.
Vail residents have been outspoken about possibly targeting Red Sandstone elementary school for closure. Those students would likely end up in the new Homestake Peak School.
Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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