Once again, Albany County Schools are facing cuts and closures.

ACSD1 Superintendant John Goldhardt released a memo regarding “Cost Savings” for the district. After public outcry, Harmony and Centennial schools were spared, but now centrally-located Beitel Elementary is facing the chopping block.

Private firm Davis Demographics Mgt was hired to show declining enrollment in the school. Enrollment has gone down some in the school, but as City Planner Derek Teini says, “It’s an enrollment problem, not a growth problem. The city of Laramie has always been growing.”

Albany County’s census data assessment from 2000-2020 shows that growth. In 2000, the population was around 32,000; in 2020 it was nearly 39,000.

Population estimates showed a 1.6 percent increase in 0-14 year-olds and a 1.1 percent increase in 15-24 year-olds. Those statistics don’t showcase massive growth, but growth nonetheless, unlike the data presented by Davis Demographics to justify closing Beitel. 

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Teini says, “We have a slow, steady increase in growth. Our houses are generally full. New businesses are coming. We have increases in tax revenues and developments. Grandview Heights is the largest subdivision in the last 10 years, adding housing for all ranges of people, and it’s in the Beitel district.”

ACSD1 is one of the only schools in the state with massive budget shortfalls. In fact, other large districts had a surplus.

In a July article from Oil City News, “The Natrona County School District Board of Trustees approved a $394 million budget for fiscal year 2024, about $39 million over last year’s appropriations. The largest revenue increase can be found in local sources, which are almost $23 million higher than last year’s estimates.

In Gillette’s County 17 News in May,According to the proposed preliminary budget, the district anticipates a 3.16% increase in funding…. They’re balanced, with a roughly $5.56 million increase from the adopted 2022–23 $142.55 million budget to a $148.11 million budget for 2023–24.”

For Laramie County School District 1, despite facing $5 million in cuts, their Budget Documents state, “Funding Model resources are allocated to LCSD1 primarily on a measure of student enrollment referred to as average daily membership (ADM)...LCSD1 enrollment decreased by 369 students in the 2022-23 school year. This decrease, along with ADM adjustments for the newly authorized state charter school, will decrease funding by an estimated $4.6 million. The net fiscal impact from ADM adjustments and ECA changes enacted through session law represent a total increase in funding of $3.4 million compared to FY 2022-23 funding levels.” 

Albany County Schools, though, is aiming to close schools and begin firing teachers in January.

 

Laramie Lemonade Day 2023

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