Falcon School District 49 votes on 92 staff cuts

March 24, 2010

The Falcon School District 49 board approved a plan Wednesday that will cut 92 positions, including principals and teachers, and save the district an estimated $5 million.

Four board members voted for the proposal. The fifth board member, Tammy Harold, was absent.

Administrators hope attrition and retirements will make layoffs unnecessary. Last year, they had to hire 140 teachers and others to replace those who left.

Among the cuts would be specialists in such classes as music, art, Spanish and the International Baccalaureate program.

Board President Danielle Lindorf said the district is reorganizing staff to enable as many employees as possible to keep their job.

“It’s always difficult to reduce staff, but we have been very responsible in finances and won’t have to reduce as much as other districts,” Lindorf said.

The district must slash about $7.5 million from the $100 million budget for 2010-11. The administration is still grappling with what other cuts they’ll have to make.

Most school districts are facing similar cuts because of  state budget problems. The Colorado Department of Education, which pays the bulk of school districts’ operating budgets, has said that by June it will have to cut $260 million to $509 million. For D-49 that amounts to $350 to $550 less per pupil.

The belt tightening comes on top of a $2.5 million  cut from central administration and auxiliary service costs in the 2009-10 budget.

The administration anticipates having to cut another $7 million for 2011-12 school year.

The officials say they may have to ask voters for a bond this year. The money would be used to create more space in an elementary school and also build a new school.

Lindorff has said that a bond would give the district more leeway because of the state’s problems.

“We feel local taxes and control is important,” she said.

Falcon, which has about 14,400 students, is one of the fastest growing districts in the state.  Last year it grew by around 780 students.

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