Schools ask public’s help in balancing budget
Facing an anticipated $3.8 million budget shortfall, Carson City School District officials are asking for the public’s ideas in finding ways to cut.“We have determined our budget will be such that we’re going to need to reduce some of our expenditures,” said Superintendent Richard Stokes. “We need to have lots of discussions. We need to talk about things that are of greatest importance to our community for our students.”The district will host two workshops to solicit community feedback. The first will be 7 p.m. Thursday at Carson Middle School, followed by a second at 7 p.m. Oct. 17 at Eagle Valley Middle School. From there, Stokes said, a plan will be devised and presented to the school board in November. “We expect there will be some modifying and editing of that plan,” he said. It will probably take us a couple of meetings to work out some detail.”By the Dec. 11 meeting, he said, the board should be ready to take action. “That will allow us to start making preparations for any modifications to be made for the coming school year,” Stokes said. Although the budget is not officially due to the state until May, Stokes said it is important to begin work early, especially since the Legislature will be meeting during this school year.“There are always a few things that change as a result of the Legislature,” he said. “We want to have enough time to react to any contingencies or changes.”For the past several years, Carson City School District has relied on its budget reserves to maintain educational programs and staffing levels despite a combination of reduced revenues, decreased student enrollment and increasing costs.The board approved a $59.5 million budget in May, which drew about $5.2 million from its reserves, dwindling the fund.“We have been fortunate to have lasted this long,” Stokes said. “However, once reserves have been spent, operations must be modified in order to balance the budget. School districts and governmental agencies across the state are all experiencing challenging economic conditions.”Stokes said he is looking forward to hearing feedback from parents and community members as well as teachers, principals and other staff. “We are, ourselves, looking at every part of our operations,” he said. “We will take very seriously any opinions. We want to do as close a job to realizing their expectations as we possibly can.“We’re hoping people come out and share their ideas.”If you goWHAT: Carson City School District budget workshopsWHEN & WHERE: 7 p.m. Thursday at Carson Middle School and 7 p.m. Oct. 17 at Eagle Valley Middle School.