Carson school board begins sifting through budget cut suggestions

After gauging public opinion through two workshops and an online survey, members of the Carson City School Board reviewed a wide array of suggestions during Tuesday's meeting.

Superintendent Richard Stokes presented board members with a 45-item list summarizing the suggestions.

"We did have a variety of suggestions, everything from doing a commercial and asking the public to come to our assistance," he said. "The ideas included some of the things we've already heard."

Some were drastic, including closing an elementary school or shuttering Pioneer High School, or eliminating all field trips and some athletics.

Others looked at the way the district operates, advising changes such as a four-day school week, xeriscaping the schools and getting rid of the reading program Success For All.

District officials opened up the budgeting process to the community in anticipation of a $5.5 million shortfall next year.

While the Carson City School District balanced a $59.5 million budget in May, it relied on its budget reserves to do so.

A combination of reduced revenues, decreased student enrollment and increasing costs is creating the deficit this year.

Stokes said all opinions would be considered, although some were contradictory.

While one suggestion called for outsourcing certain employees, such as custodians, another argued for getting rid of outsourced employees.

Kathy Monet, a 29-year classified employee for the school district, spoke at Tuesday's meeting, urging trustees to keep custodians working for the district rather than hiring an outside firm to take it over.

"Their loyalty is to the employer, who is not the Carson City School District," she said. "You're hiring people to come in who aren't dedicated to the students, staff or teachers. You're not going to have the services, and you're probably not going to have the savings."

Other ideas included staff cuts, salary cuts and freezing all raises. Reducing travel and training costs for teachers and administrators was also included as was cutting back on the number of days worked within the district.

Stokes said he wanted to give trustees a chance to review the ideas before making any decisions.

"At future board meetings, we'll bring more specific recommendations for actual budget cuts," he said.


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