Teachers question district spending amid enrollment decline - KOAA.com | Continuous News | Colorado Springs and Pueblo

Teachers question district spending amid enrollment decline

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If you look into District 60's current amended budget, you'll notice two things about the way the way spend their money.
First, administrators got more than they did last year. Second, the teachers got less.

The amount budgeted for salaries under Regular Education category, meaning classroom teachers, fell by $632,382 from year to year. 

Meanwhile, the amount budgeted for salaries under General Administration grew by $104,412. Likewise, the amount budgeted for salaries under Human Resources grew by $70,929. 

High School math teacher Heather Strobel knows how to read numbers. What she saw in the budget seemed disrespectful.
"That's where I see that disrespect that people always talk about, it's in the numbers for me."

The teachers striking over a 2 percent cost of living raise for this current budget cycle that was recommended by Fact Finder Marshall Snider. 

In his 15 page report, Snider concluded, "adding at two percent COLA for PEA bargaining unit members to the recommended granting of the Associations' other proposals would result in a total increased cost to the District of less than $1.5 million."

By Strobel's calculations, the administration gave themselves that much of a funding increase.

"I took a look at the Human Resources, General Admin and Business Services and those three combined was increased by $1.6 million from last year to this year."

David Horner, the Chief Financial Officer for D-60, told reporters this afternoon that the increases in General Administration were to fill long-vacant jobs in the central office.

"The assistant superintendent position is one that was vacant that was refilled in July of this year," Horner said. "We have some executive director positions that were vacant and people that have transferred and so those positions were refilled."

He explained that the reason the change looks so dramatic is that there aren't as many administrators relative to the roughly 1,000 teachers who work for the district.

"We are making some adjustments to staffing on class ratios and things that does flatten out the increases for our teaching staff," Horner said.

But the fact that the administration is hiring at a time when the total number of teachers is declining doesn't sit well with Strobel.

"I just don't understand how we can keep saying we have declining enrollment, we don't have the money but for some reason, it's getting a lot bigger down at the admin building."

A special school board meeting has been scheduled for Thursday afternoon at 2:00. Board member Taylor Voss spoke to the teachers during a rally in Mineral Palace Park. He said he plans to bring up questions about the budget during that upcoming meeting.

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