On the same day a new committee starts searching for ways to cope with a $4.5 million budget shortfall, Nampa School Board members are likely to call for an independent audit to figure out how the district got into this perilous position.
Sixteen community members, teachers and school administrators will start meeting Tuesday to look for ways to balance a budget that, shortly before school started last month, was discovered to be deeply in the red.
Reportedly caused by an assortment of budgeting errors over the past two years, the shortfall was initially estimated at $2.8 million. By last week, after heightened budget scrutiny, that estimate rose to $4.5 million about 6.7 percent of the districts $66.8 million budget. Longtime Superintendent Gary Larsen resigned, saying the startling deficit should be resolved by a new leader in whom people have confidence.
Deputy Superintendent Joshua Jensen has said there is no evidence of theft or fraud, but that budget errors caused the district to grossly overestimate its revenue and spend money it didnt really have.
The newly formed committee is charged with coming up with ways to balance this years school budget and making recommendations to the district board. No time frame has been set, and spokeswoman Allison Westfall said the district has sufficient cash flow to last through the end of this calendar year. Already district leaders have said they will keep open positions unfilled and cut substitute teaching, supplies and transportation spending.
The whole committee is comprised of great thinkers and achievers with a vast amount of expertise, experience and perspective, and they have a proven history of getting things done, Board Chairman Scott Kido said Friday. I appreciate so much their willingness to give up their time to serve, as they have taken on a responsibility that will have a huge effect on our community.
After the committee meeting Tuesday, the school board will meet and discuss engaging an independent auditor.
Kristin Rodine: 377-6447