Carson school officials consider cuts | NevadaAppeal.com
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Carson school officials consider cuts

Teri Vance
Nevada Appeal Staff Writer
Cathleen Allison/Nevada AppealEagle Valley Middle School students scramble to get on buses Wednesday afternoon. While in better financial shape than many other districts, Carson City School District officials continue to evaluate ways to save money.
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Although Carson City School District officials aren’t sure how much will be cut when the Legislature determines next year’s school budgets, they are considering a variety of alternatives.

They hope to manage the cuts ” projected to be from 14 percent to 34 percent ” without having to dip into the district’s $11.1 million surplus.

“Once we start fiddling with that, it’s never going to increase, with the economy the way it is now,” said Joanna Wilson, school board trustee.

At a recent school board meeting, district officials and board members discussed options.

“We’re still gathering a lot of data,” said Superintendent Richard Stokes. “We’re trying to generate some ideas, but we have no hard and fast rules yet.”

He said they are focusing on cost-saving efficiencies, such as reducing electricity usage during peak hours of 5 to 10 p.m.

“We’re looking at shutting power off to some buildings after 5,” Stokes said. “We’re considering bringing back the custodial staff after 10 p.m.”

That wouldn’t work at the high school, he said, where extracurricular activities often take place in the evenings.

“We’re hoping to not change the ways we do things or the types of things we do,” he said. “I certainly want to see athletics and physical education and co-curricular activities continue.”

Football and soccer games could be switched to daytime to avoid using stadium lights.

During the past few years, officials have evaluated whether open positions needed to be filled, choosing to leave many vacant. When Mike Mitchell, director of operations for the school district, retires at the end of the month, his position will be absorbed by other employees.

Stokes said the district will continue to examine every position to determine which might be expendable.

But parents and students could see a reduction in services, Stokes said.

Currently, elementary students living more than a mile from school and high school students more than two miles away have bus service. A possible cost savings would be to increase the walking radius to two miles for elementary school students and three for secondary students.

Field trips could be limited in number and distance from the schools.

All of the ideas, Stokes said, are just ideas.

“We’re still discussing this at the school board level,” he said. “While we’re anxious to be able to have some definitive plans, we still don’t know what to expect from the

state.”

He said they’ve dismissed some of the more radical ideas proposed by other school districts, such as reducing the school week to four days.

“I’ve seen conflicting evidence on cost saving,” Stokes said.

He said they will work to preserve programs, a sentiment Wilson supported.

“I’ll fight to the death for arts and music,” Wilson said.

– Contact reporter Teri Vance at tvance@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1272.