VIRGINIA CITY - With the first day of school just around the corner, Storey County school officials are using their creativity to fill in holes left by a $500,000 shortfall in this year's budget.
"I think our school district will be as strong as ever," said new superintendent Henry Kilmer. "I feel really good about it."
In April, the school board cut major programs and positions, including the high school principal, hot lunch services and the music program.
Although the programs will not be reinstated, they will be replaced.
The duties of the principal will be spread among four people.
Kilmer will serve as the principal of the high school, and government teacher Todd Hess will take over the position of assistant principal.
Hess, who served as lead teacher last year, will oversee discipline at the school, conduct teacher evaluations and serve as intermediary between the principal, staff and students.
"It will be a challenge but we have a good staff up here and we can all be our own micromanagers," Hess said. "We'll have a good year."
Rick Schrank, who was named the Outstanding Industrial and Technology Teacher of the Year this year for Nevada, will be in charge of attendance.
"We've always been a nice little team up here," Schrank said. "We've got some pretty creative problem-solving techniques."
Guidance counselor Emma Dickenson will help out with scheduling.
Students will also be able to receive a meal every day as well. The lunch program, which lost $53,000 last year, will be replaced by meals provided by parent and staff volunteers.
"We've been carrying on a program like this at the middle school for years," Kilmer said. "We're just expanding that free-enterprise concept."
Any profits made from the program will go back into the school.
The elementary school will received prepackaged lunches that need only to be heated up and served.
"The end result is that we will have good food in all of the buildings," Kilmer said.
The music will not die either.
English teacher Christina Prater will teach a music literature class that will include history of music as well as hands-on instruction.
"She's a very talented lady," Kilmer said.
Hess will continue to teach two classes in addition to his duties as assistant principal.
He said he will focus on a proactive approach to standardized tests and will continue a two-week intersession set up last year during Christmas break to remediate those students who are falling behind and offer advanced courses for those who are ahead.
Schrank said he is confident Hess will be able to lead the school because he graduated from high school in Virginia City and has the community's trust and respect.
"With all of us working together, I think it's going to be an exciting year," Schrank said.