In a preliminary approach to make up for an estimated $3.8 million shortfall, Carson City School District officials plan to draw $2.5 million from district reserves while cutting $1.7 million from district expenses to balance a $59.87 million budget, according to Superintendent Richard Stokes.
The tentative budget, which is due to the state Monday, was presented to school board members during Tuesday’s meeting.
In an interview before the meeting, Stokes emphasized that the budget was likely to change before the final budget is submitted May 15, depending on decisions being made by the Legislature.
“We have to make our best estimate,” he said. “We expect there will be a number of changes while we wait for the Legislature to finish its work.”
The budget calls for significant staff reductions throughout the district, including eliminating counselors at all elementary schools.
Board clerk Ron Swirczek said those positions should be spared, even if it means drawing deeper into reserve funds. Cutting counselors would hurt students who need the most help, he said.
“We know in this town there are a lot of children who are going to be neglected,” Swirczek said. “The key is they have to get to the kids in need.”
Board President Lynnette Conrad agreed.
Fiscal Services Director Anthony Turley said the ending-fund balance was at its minimum required.
Jose Delfin, associate superintendent of human resources, said 32 teachers took the district up on the $10,000 incentive to retire early, saving about $1 million.
“We originally went for 25,” he said. “To see how many wanted to take voluntary separation was overwhelming.”
The early retirements also helped district officials better prepare for next year, Delfin said.
“It gave us a peek into who’s thinking about retiring,” he said. “I don’t typically get that information until late spring. It helps with making decisions about staffing.”
Teacher positions also would be eliminated by increasing the student-to-teacher ratio in first through third grades 22-1.
Librarians at the elementary schools would become classified employees rather than teachers.
Under the proposal, athletes would be required to pay $25 per sport to participate, with a $75 cap. Middle school athletic teams would be limited to in the amount of travel they could do to compete.
Field trips would be eliminated, and other travel expenses reduced.