SHIPROCK — While the Central Consolidated School District is still struggling to put together its operational budget for the 2013-2014 school year, it presented a mixture of good and bad news Tuesday evening.
Since discovering last week that the district had $3 million more in federal funding than it realized, the district rescinded the layoffs of 39 district employees during a special board meeting.
In recent weeks, the district announced that it was laying off 43 employees. Most of them found out Tuesday that they still had jobs with the district. However, some found out they were terminated, others learned they were being forced to transfer and four still did not have their contracts renewed.
If employees had not received a notice of termination or nonrenewal of contract by Tuesday, they likely were not going to receive one this year.
"It does not mean you're going to be at the same school, but you have a job," said CCSD superintendent Don Levinski.
Those whose contracts were not renewed were largely employed in the elementary arts program, which will be restructured next year, according to the district's finance director, Andrea Tasan.
This year, the elementary school arts programs included 11 teachers: one drama teacher, six music teachers and four fine arts teachers, according to Kristy Stock, the district's curriculum instruction supervisor.
The district will whittle that number down to 7.5 teachers in the elementary arts programs, which next year will include two fine arts teachers, 5.5 music teachers and no drama teachers. One of the music teachers retired, and that teacher's position will not be filled.
Those whose positions were being transferred, such as Shiprock High School business teacher Barbara Hayes, were hardly pleased.
"How is transferring me to Newcomb going to help the district save money?" said Hayes, who has worked in her position for 11 years.
The budget presented Thursday evening was not final, however, Tasan said.
The operational budget is expected to be about $58.29 million, more than $3.4 million less than last year's budget.
The budget's largest sources of funding included the state public education department, which provided about $29.15 million, and the federal government, which provided about $23.61 in impact aid funding.
The budget was put together namely by Tasan and Levinski, though input also was given by the district's budget committee, made of principals, department heads and program coordinators.
The committee did not include parents, as pointed out by board member Randy Manning, who also was displeased by the presentation put together by Levinski. The presentation compared the rough 2013-2014 budget to the 2011-2012 budget, not the 2012-2013 budget, Manning said.
Others also were unimpressed by the holes in both Levinski's and Tasan's presentation of the rough 2013-2014 budget.
"Your finance director is a good person, but she has no accounting degree," said Rosemil Gladden, a parent who felt that the finance department needed to be better organized. "Accounting is always going to be important."
The "pretty close to final" budget, as Tasan called it, is expected to be presented May 28, during a public hearing at which the state public education department will be present. The state had a representative present at both Tuesday's meeting and the one on May 9.
Jenny Kane can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org; 505-564-4636. Follow her on Twitter @Jenny_Kane.