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Eagle County Schools plans for distance learning in fall, 10% budget decrease

May 6, 2020, 3:57 pm

In its newsletter to parents, Eagle County Schools on Wednesday reported it’s planning for possible distance learning again in the fall given the COVID-19 pandemic, and that its budget will likely drop by at least 10%.

Under the headline “The Uphill Climb”, the ECS TrailMarker newsletter offered three potential plans for the start of the 2020-21 school year:

We compare education to a lifelong journey where the traveler changes along the way. Our newsletter is called the TrailMarker for this reason — a signpost for parents that shares information as we go. Most, if not all, hikes have tougher sections. With the arrival of the pandemic, we have all been on a tough stretch. And, the uphill climb will continue into the upcoming school year. In SY2020-21, we will be facing the continued effects of the virus, which may include a combination of in-person and distance learning. The district is planning three scenarios and will share an update next month. Plan A = normal, Plan B = small groups/distance learning combination, Plan C = starting with distance learning. Please be patient. We are creating the plans and still meeting with Public Health weekly to see how conditions change as restrictions are relaxed. Every effort will be made to return to in-person instruction.

An added complication for next year will be a dire budget reality for schools across the nation. We have been advised to anticipate at least a 10% reduction in our funding. Every effort is being made at the state and local levels to minimize the impact of this reduction. Still, cuts of this magnitude will be challenging. The changes are in line with the reductions from the Great Recession from a decade ago, which we still haven’t recovered from. The way in which TABOR works is that loss of revenue happens as fast as market conditions, but the recovery is much slower for tax-funded governmental entities. We are all on this journey together and will keep you informed as the budget process plays out. The state anticipates having a budget to review by the end of May. At present, we’re taking steps to ensure minimal impact on staffing levels. Read more here. 

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