D60 beefing up athletic department in newly approved 2018-19 budget

Posted at 6:43 PM, Jun 27, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-27 20:43:39-04

District 60 officially approved a fourth version of their budget last night for the upcoming school year.

This included teacher raises as previously negotiated and improvements to the athletic department.

A spokesman for Pueblo City Schools says this is a positive step forward because for the first time in several years, employee agreements are already in place before the school year starts.

But teachers we spoke with are concerned about where some of the extra funding from the state will be going.

It took a week long strike back in May but the silver lining, each teacher contract has been settled.

"What that means for us, is that we can now budget with confidence moving into the year ahead and really anticipate the challenges and areas that we want to support," Dalton Sprouse, a spokesman for Pueblo City Schools said.

All of the raises promised now accounted for.

"I think that this just kind of proves that point that the money was there all along, it shouldn’t have taken that kind of drastic action of a strike to get teachers and parapros paid," Suzanne Ethredge, President of the Pueblo Education Association said.

Even with about $500 more per student worth of state funding heading their way, more than 50 District 60 positions were cut through attrition after this past school year.

"The instructional supplies line item still has been cut significantly, obviously there are some classroom cuts in this budget but yet other things have been added that make us question why they were added," Ethredge said.

The district’s athletic department is getting an additional $500,000.

Half of that money, $250,000 is earmarked for four certified athletic trainers, something they’ve gone without for several years.

"These are student athletes, they’re students first, obviously they have to maintain their grades in the classroom before they can partake and perform on the field per say so we see a huge value in our athletic programs," Sprouse said.

But the teachers union says, they’d like to see a better plan for how the money is spent.

"Even four athletic trainers can’t cover all of our athletic events and so it would be nice to know what the plan is and how those people will be utilized and how the district even plans on finding and recruiting those people, we would just like to know what the plan is for those positions," Ethredge said.

For a look at the newly approved District 60 budget, click here.