Some Nampa citizens watched through tears last night as the Nampa School Board delivered a sobering Christmas message: It will likely begin furloughing classified staff as early as the holiday break, as part of a solution to dig out from its $4.3 million shortfall.
The Nampa School District's budget mess began when officials had projected a nearly $2 million surplus during fiscal year 2011, when in fact, it operated on a $1 million deficit. School officials said the mistake "was camouflaged by $3 million in federal stimulus money that hadn't been budgeted for." District budget officials said that the stimulus money was "double budgeted." Additionally, state support was overbudgeted by nearly $1 million.
Because of the budget mess, Nampa School Superintendent Gary Larsen resigned from his post in late September.
But Larsen was nowhere near last night's meeting as janitors, paraprofessionals and school nutritionists, who make an average of $13,000 per year, were told that they would be taking home less pay.
This morning's Idaho Press-Tribune reports that the furloughs would "make it possible for the district to fulfill payroll obligations at the end of the current semester."
The school board also decided Tuesday night to implement new transportation and activity fees at the middle- and high-school levels.
Additionally, the board said it would pursue a legal process to sell district-owned property and a supplemental levy to put before voters in 2013.