BOZEMAN — On January 6, Superintendent Casey Bertram sent out a revised list of recommendations for reducing $4.1 million from the K-12 budget. These recommendations are tied to building reserve safety levies. The revised list includes two plans.
Bertram says, “Plan A is a creative strategy to pursue additional revenue via taxpayer dollars and give taxpayers a say in that via a vote in the May elections. Plan B is largely what the board budget committee that met from June to December put together in terms of elementary and high school recommendations to reduce $4.1 million out of the general fund budget.”
If the levy passes, cuts will not be as severe. Recommendations for K-12 budget reduction include increasing extracurricular participation fees, reducing central office or building administration, reductions in certified staffing which could result in 27 layoffs, and decreasing building and department budgets by 10%.
At the January 9 board meeting, parents and community members took the stand to share their opinions on other recommendations such as eliminating Bozeman Charter School. According to Bertram, closing an elementary school is now off the table.
One parent states, “It's so scary for so many parents at the Bozeman Charter School because we are faced with losing our school. Which it sounds like it was the online school, like no it's our community."
Another community member shares how he feels about the possible reduction of the fine arts certified administration position.
He states, “One staple that's existed has been the fine arts director. Without it, we could quickly become a much lesser school district from a musical standpoint and our kids will suffer.”
Superintendent Bertram says the board has received great feedback on these recommendations and is still working hard to communicate with the community about upcoming levies and the importance of the May election.
“Adding the safety levy tied to these budget reductions is a much more complicated and nuanced message. So we'll be working on making that messaging clear and understandable and getting it out to all of our stakeholders,” says Bertram.
You can leave public comment on these recommendations by emailing email@example.com.
Click here for the Superintendent’s Revised Elementary District General Fund Budget Recommendations.
Click here for the Superintendent’s Revised High School General Fund Budget Recommendations.