KALISPELL – The failure of the Kalispell High School levy has become a reality for a district now scrambling to fill the nearly $1.7 million gap left by the failed bond.
“The last six weeks have been the most challenging of my time here,” Superintendent of Kalispell Public Schools Mark Flatau said in a news release.
Flatau said they have spent hours in budget discussions with school principals, activities directors and the Board of Trustees on how to trim nearly $1.4 million from the high school budget and an additional $300,000 from the elementary budget.
Despite these cuts, the district says they will still face a $76,000 deficit in the elementary, and $326,000 in the high school budget.
The high school levy that failed in the last election cycle was requested to update technology and curriculum, while supporting other activities and programs.
Proposed cuts include personnel in both teaching and support staff, curriculum/instructional materials, activities, maintenance equipment, building budgets and field trips.
“We are confident all who want to continue working for School District 5 will have a position, even if it is slightly different,” Flatau said in a news release.
“However, adding new positions to accommodate the growing student body is not an option. Due to the budget cuts, all Kalispell schools will operate with fewer teachers and support staff despite the overall needs of the district continuing to grow.”
In the last two years, the district cut $866,000 from the high school budget and over $600,000 from the elementary school and were able to do so without impacting staff positions.
The District reports that their high schools already have the lowest general fund and cost per student budgets in the state among AA schools.
For a detailed breakdown of cuts click here.
Reporting by Don Fisher for MTN News