NAMPA — The Nampa School District is at the point where it must make critical decisions to overcome the budget crisis it has faced all semester, or it could be forced to shut down schools.
The district’s special budget committee met Wednesday to finalize considerations that will be presented to the school board as solutions to mend the $4.3 million budget shortfall.
Committee member Ned Kerr told the committee he believes there is one way to get out of the situation “cleanly:” Ask the community to support a one-year $4.3-million supplemental levy and restructure bond debt, which would result in a 0 percent tax increase per levy approval.
Pete Koehler, Nampa High School principal, said if the March levy is proposed and does not pass, or other remedies are not implemented, the district may be left without options.
“There is a danger, as we look at a timeline, now (the district is) down to six weeks out (after a levy vote), that there is no money left,” Koehler said. “At that point, we would have no option, I believe as a district, to simply say at this point, then, we’re shutting school down. We’re done.”
Other possible short- and long-term considerations will be presented to the board at the 7:30 p.m. meeting Dec. 11 at the district office. The considerations include asking the district to negotiate with the Nampa Education Association to consider four furlough days in the current year, eliminating non-student contact days or the last four days of school, transitioning to an eight-period day and increasing average daily attendance to increase revenue, among others. Interim Superintendent Thomas Michaelson said the district is unsure if it can legally re-open negotiations with the NEA.
The district cannot yet identify just how much money each option would save the district. Michaelson said moving forward, another committee will be formed to help the board to make decisions and identify specific savings.
Superintendent search committee chairman Brian McGourty told the budget committee that the superintendent search committee will suspend its activities, at the direction of the board, to show support for Michaelson. The committee does not want to be a distraction, he said.