Letter: Meeker supt. explains use of school funding

I am writing to inform the public about use of school funding. Meeker voters authorized a bond issue to build the elementary school and upgrade the middle and high schools. I believe that there may be a misconception that the school district has an abundance of money available from the bond. The funds from the bond are for a specific purpose that requires they be spent on capital construction. Capital construction includes building or upgrading facilities, and outfitting those facilities. That means that the district cannot use the money from the bond to run the school district by paying salaries and benefits.
I realize that it may seem odd that the bond generated millions of dollars for capital construction, yet the district will have to cut programs or staff to try to balance the general fund budget. Statewide, funding for school districts will be cut this year by approximately 10 percent. For our district, this is about $600,000. The general fund budget for the school district is approximately 80 percent salaries and benefits, and 20 percent for all of the other costs in running the school throughout the year.
The bond fund and the general fund have restrictions on their use. The use of capital construction money for day-to-day operation of the school district is against the law. Consequently, cuts will be necessary in the general fund budget. If you have questions or would like further explanation, please call me at 878-9040. Thank you for your time and understanding.
Doug Pfau
Meeker School District