Budget plans on hold while salaries negotiated | NevadaAppeal.com

Budget plans on hold while salaries negotiated

Teri Vance

After presenting an initial budget proposal to board members earlier this month, Carson City School District Superintendent Richard Stokes said he will ask tonight for more time to finalize plans.

“I would like to have enough time to make sure the decisions that are made are in the best interest of the school district,” he said. “I would hate to see us do something that would have to be undone.”

Facing a $5.5 million shortfall, the school district is looking at drastic cuts for the upcoming year, including staff layoffs and increased class sizes.

However, Stokes said, district officials have entered negotiations with the unions representing teachers and other employees. He said he would like to delay any budget decisions until a resolution is decided.

“We have begun interest-based bargaining with our employee groups,” he said. “We need to have some time to talk to people and to go through that process before I’m going to be able to make any modifications to the plan.”

About 50 teachers and other school employees attended the Nov. 13 meeting where the plan was laid out to slash the nearly $60 million budget through layoffs, increasing classroom sizes, eliminating all elementary school counselors and requiring students to pay a fee to participate in extracurricular activities, among other measures.

While other suggestions were made at the meeting – some called to eliminate the Success for All reading program and trustee Barbara Myers suggested cutting an associate superintendent – Stokes said the proposal will remain intact for now.

“The plan I presented at the Nov. 13 meeting is the plan we are currently working to implement,” he said.

Officials were notified Monday that the Carson City School District is among 61 finalists still in the running for millions of dollars in federal education grants through Race to the Top.

While Stokes said it is exciting news, he cautioned that even if the district were to be one of the 15 to 20 districts selected to receive the money, it would not solve the budget woes.

“As with any grants, there are specific requirements you would have to put into action as part of the agreement,” he said. “There’s definitely a prescribed recipe.”

He said new positions proposed in the grant application could absorb some potential layoffs, however.

Recipients of the Race to the Top funding will be notified by the end of December.

If you go

WHAT: Carson City School Board meeting

WHEN: 7 p.m. today

WHERE: Carson City Community Center, 851 E. William St.