Meyer says MSD will require cutbacks after loss of tax vote

MEEKER I Obviously disappointed by the 64-vote failure of Ballot Issue 3A in Meeker, new school superintendent Mark Meyer said although it is a known fact that cuts will now have to be made, he will certainly comply with the voters’ decision on the measure.
“I knew it would be a close election,” Meyer said. “We needed to change 32 minds of voters who voted in the election, but it just didn’t happen. We’ll proceed and march to whatever the voters want.”
As to the future?
“We are going to have to make cuts this school year,” Meyer said. “I have not spoken to the board – either the current board or the new board members who will be seated soon, so I do not know to what extent those cuts will take place this school year.”
He said the Colorado Department of Education calculates what the district will receive, and the total numbers of dollars the district will receive is still an unknown.
“If we spend now like we are following the budget, we will be overspending,” Meyer said.
“We have reserve funds, if needed, but if we use those to make up for the shortfall we expect now, then we will wipe that fund nearly out,” he said. “Discussions on what we are going to do have not taken place, and those will most likely take place in the early spring.”
Dealing with the repercussions of the election also include the fact that the current Meeker School District Board of Trustees has a relatively short time left in office before the new board will take over and have to make those decisions, Meyer said.
There will be a new board president with the retirement of Iris Franklin and two additional new board members due to the retirement of board members Jerry Oldland and Paul Neilson. Incumbent Bill deVergie won re-election to the board but there will be three new board members with the Tuesday election of Bud Ridings, Dan Chinn and Todd Shults.
“We have 15 days from when the Rio Blanco County commissioners certify the election results to set up a meeting between the two boards,” Meyer said. “The current board will open that meeting and the new board will finish out the meeting.
“After that, as soon as the new board is seated, we will begin the process of teaching the funding process from the state and looking at the finances the district now faces,” Meyer said. “That is why I believe it will be early spring before the new board is ready to look at what decisions need to be made.
“I feel there is a great potential with this new, incoming board,” Meyer said. “They seem serious about dealing with the task that lies ahead although I am sure that they, along with the rest of us, hope that the tax Ballot Issue 3A would have passed.”
Iris Franklin, current president of the Meeker School District Board of Education, said, “I am really very sorry to see that the school funding initiative failed.”
She said the current board’s last meeting will be on Tuesday and that the new board will likely be sworn into office at the end of that meeting.