School district cutting $5M, 47 jobs |

School district cutting $5M, 47 jobs

EAGLE, Colorado – The school district settled on a $5 million budget cut, and they might ask voters for an annual tax increase to cover it in the future, district officials said in a letter.

The district’s decision to slash jobs and spending stems from a combination of decreasing student numbers in Eagle County, and a reduction in the amount of money the state spends on each student.

Jobs cuts will be more than half of that $5 million cut. It’s 47 positions: 27 classroom jobs and 20 from the district office and support staff.

That will cut $2.9 million.

Superintendent Dr. Sandra Smyser says 80 percent of the school district’s budget is spent on personnel.

The other $2.1 million will come from delaying bus and computer purchases, putting off building maintenance and cuts to the district’s healthcare plan.

The school district cut $4 million last year, before this year’s $5 million cut.

The school board is scheduled to approve the budget at next Wednesday’s meeting.

The school board is still considering asking voters for a $6.7 million annual property tax increase. The tax increase breaks down to $20.97 for every $100,000 of your home’s assessed value.

That money would stay in Eagle County, and not be funneled through the state government, as other school funds are now, the district said in its letter.

The school board has to decide by August whether to put it on the ballot. Voters would decide its fate in November.

Under Colorado’s TABOR Amendment, the school district cannot increase taxes without voters’ permission.

In its letter, the school district reasoned that the tax increase would be less than the tax reduction most property owners will enjoy because of falling property values.

Local property values have plummeted by as much as 30 percent in some parts of Eagle County, says Mark Chapin, Eagle County assessor. That means state and local governments have less money to work with, including school districts.

School districts across the state are cutting spending because the state no longer has enough money to cover their losses, says Eric Brown, Gov. John Hickenlooper’s press secretary.

Colorado’s kindergarten-12 education consumes 42 percent of the state’s general fund. In the state’s $1 billion budget shortfall this year, education took a hit along with everything else.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or

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