Sunday, April 28, 2013

Nampa School Chief: Budget Crisis 'Worse Than Expected'

Posted By on Sun, Apr 28, 2013 at 11:15 AM

For Thomas Michaelson, there's bad ... really bad ... and there's the tide of red ink that has swamped the Nampa School District. Idaho Education News reports that when Michaelson was hired to become Nampa's interim school superintendent in November 2012, the difficult decisions to shut down one school, ask faculty to take furlough days and outsource custodial services was "a larger task than I originally thought it would be."

The Nampa School District budget mess, triggered by a $4.3 million shortfall—due, in large part, to accounting errors and improper oversight—resulted in the resignation of Superintendent Gary Larsen. That's when the district turned to Michaelson, who had retired from education after being superintendent of other troubled school districts in California.

"My question was, 'How in the word did you get my name?'" Michaelson told Idaho Ed News.

Soon after coming on board, though, Michaelson said it was important to keep up morale and praise teachers for the work they've done amid the turmoil.

"I purposely would rather encompass the whole of the job, rather than a piece of it," he told Idaho Ed News.

And in the wake of what Idaho Ed News calls "no-win" decisions to close Sunny Ridge Elementary School, furloughs and layoffs, the district still has to find another $2.9 million in additional cuts.

“I think he’s in a really hard position,” Molly Lenty, a member of the group Community for Nampa Schools, told Idaho Ed News. “The fat’s already been cut.”

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