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Mancos schools budget expected to increase

Salary raises, technology upgrades planned
This graphic shows an aerial view of the proposed new playground at Mancos Elementary School. The playground is part of a proposed $25 million school upgrade, and school board members are presenting the proposal to a state board this week.

The Mancos School District budget for next school year is expected to increase slightly, allowing the district to invest in technology upgrades and staff salary raises, Superintendent Brian Hanson said Monday.

School board members discussed the budget at their regular meeting Monday, but did not take a vote on it. That vote is expected next month.

Increases in the budget are expected to come from several sources, including a per-student funding raise and legislation that allocates funding to rural Colorado, Hanson said.

“This is the first time in nine years that we’ve had some discretionary spending in the budget,” Hanson said.

The district’s per-student funding from the state is anticipated to be around $8,570, about a $280 increase from last year, according to district documents. The total budget is expected to be just under $4.3 million.

Senate Bill 267, which passed both houses of the state legislature earlier this month, distributes $30 million in marijuana tax revenues to rural school districts, according to the state’s website.

Mancos School District’s share will be about $167,000, according to Hanson. That money will be used to pay for $44,000 worth of Chromebook computers for students, upgrades to school security cameras, a transportation vehicle and a Kubota backhoe for the district, Hanson said. An addition to the school’s shop also is planned, so that it can be used for both maintenance staff members and students, he said.

The budget increase also will allow for base salary raises for teachers, administrators and other staff members, according to district documents. A 4 percent raise is planned for staff with certifications, and 2 percent raises are planned for classified, professional and administrative staff.

A salary for one teacher, which previously was paid through funds from a mill levy, will be moved to the general fund, Hanson said. The mill levy funding runs out in four years, and there are still two other teacher salaries on mill levy funding that will need to be moved to the general fund within that time, he said.

Hanson also reported that he, along with Board Members Monty Guiles, Pam Coppinger and Blake Mitchell were scheduled to give a two-minute presentation in support of their $25 million proposed campus upgrade on Thursday in Denver. The group will meet before the Colorado Department of Education Building Excellent Schools Today board, and the district should learn if the project has been approved next month, Hanson said.

Also at the meeting, High School Principal Adam Priestley reported that the senior class this year had earned more than $830,000 in scholarships. The school’s graduation ceremony is planned for Sunday at 4 p.m. at the Mancos Performance Center.

Keynote speaker for the ceremony will be Mancos Elementary Principal Cathy Epps. The valedictorian for the Class of 2017 is Brittney Peacock, and the salutatorian is Hannah Skinner. There are about 30 members of the graduating class, Priestley said.

He discussed possibly moving the graduation ceremony to the Friday before Memorial Day for next year. Mancos Schools will move to a four-day schedule next school year, and moving the ceremony to a Friday may work better with the new schedule, Priestley said.

Priestley also said he was able to hire teachers for three vacant science positions and one vacant math position.

Hanson reported that there are 21 students in the district with parents who worked at Western Excelsior Corp., which was destroyed in a devastating fire last week. Those students come from fewer than 10 total families, he said. Hanson said he said he had not heard if those families planned to leave the district.


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