Dense Fog Advisory issued August 5 at 2:08AM MDT expiring August 5 at 10:00AM MDT in effect for: Yuma
The budget ax has fallen hard on the first of many school districts in Colorado.Adams 12 Five Star Schools, the states fifth largest district with more than 42,000 students, is cutting 188 people next school year as it grapples with a $24 million budget shortfall.The district managed to save most teaching positions because that's what the community demanded in an online survey that generated 6,000 responses.No teachers will be laid off at the elementary or middle school levels and 23 to 24 high school teachers will be let go. The remainder of the 188 positions being eliminated will be administrators, counselors, custodians, school support staff and campus supervisors.The district is also increasing fees.It will now cost students $10 a month to ride the bus, or $100 a year. The parking fee for high school drivers will increase from $30 to $50. And athletics participation fees will increase 25 percent across the board."I don't think that is good at all," said Eve Martinez, the mother of a Thornton high freshman. "I have two kids in sports and I don't think I can handle that.""I really don't mind the fees because we get a lot for our public education," said Tersa Mohedas, a middle school teacher and mother of an Academy student. "I value the education."The superintendent said the budget crisis has worsened as sales tax revenues drop.I know how tough it is to see many people, who have served this community really well for 20 to 30 years, who won't be a part of our team moving forward. That's a heart-breaking situation," said superintendent, Chris Gdowski.The 188 layoffs will be effective as of July 1.There will also be benefits reductions next year for all employees who remain on staff.Gdowski said the most important thing to parents was keeping class sizes small. He feels these cuts accomplish that."I would rather have smaller class sizes and have the athletic fees [increased]," said Gretchen White, a mother of an Academy student.Currently, middle school students who live within one and a half miles of their school are required to walk or get a ride. The same applies to high school students who live within two miles of their school. That distance will now increase to students living within two miles for middle schools and two-and-a-half miles for high schools.