Mt. View’s $16.8M budget still in red

BY VIRGINIA CODY

The Mountain View School Board has approved a tentative general fund budget of $16,874,151 for 2011-12.

Despite a six-tenths of a mill increase in taxes bringing the total burden to taxpayers to 34.3 mills plus the furlough of 10 teachers and one administrator, the district still faces a deficit of $1,153,466.

That projected deficit is due to uncertainties about funding from the state and federal governments, in particular the State Funds for Accountability Grant, Federal Funds for Titles I and II, and medical assistance reimbursements.

As part of its budget crunching effort, the board agreed Monday to eliminate virtually all assistant coaching positions in the district.

Superintendent Andrew Chichura said that assistant coaching positions had already been appointed for the fall semester, so those positions will be eliminated starting in the Winter of 2011.

“With track though, we’ve reduced it to two from three assistants,” Chichura said, adding that the number of children participating in that sport warranted keeping those coaches on staff.

For other sports, he explained, “We’re going to go with volunteer coaches.

Salaries and benefits, which account for 69 percent of the district budget were also on the agenda Monday night.  The board voted to approve new salary and benefit packages for a number of personnel including office secretaries and administrators.

Second Vice President Dava Rinehart-Cowan, the only dissenter on these votes, explained she believed the district could have saved $50,000 if they had revised the contracts to offer salaries based on a 240 day base rate.  The new contracts are based on a 260 day base rate.

“We need to save every cent we can,” she said.  “There was at least a $50,000 savings there.”

One special program that does not seem to be in danger of being cut is the Language Institute Language Camp this summer.  The program, designed for middle and high school students in grades 6 to 12, is being offered through a partnership between the Northeastern Educational Intermediate Unit and the federal Foreign Language Assistance Program.

The camp will enable students to participate in one of three online language courses:  Chinese, Japanese, or Russian.  It will feature project-based activities and live instruction on both language and culture and will include conversation, games, music, webquests, and “virtual” field trips.

The normal cost for this program is $300, but since Mountain View School District is a VLINC member district, students will only have to pay $150 to attend.

“And students get an iPOD Touch for free,” said Karen Voigt, Director of Curriculum and Instruction/Federal Programs.

The camp, said Voigt, runs July 18-29.