April 2, 2021 Update
Dear GFW Community,
I wanted to start by acknowledging that our district had to make some tough decisions recently.
We knew budget reductions were a necessary part of solving our financial situation, but the action taken makes it very real. These are real people whose jobs and lives are significantly impacted by the actions taken by the board of education. We thank these valued staff members for their service. We wish them the best as they continue in their careers. We are sorry these decisions have to be made.
We stood at a crossroads and chose the right path for the future of GFW Public Schools, our students and our community. We have made strong progress in addressing the district’s financial situation over the last eight months. The community passed the operating levy in August 2020 with over 60% support, and the district has continued to work towards a stable and sustainable budget through budget efficiencies, reorganization and restructuring, as well as receiving new monies to help with COVID-19 expenditures. These efforts resulted in an anticipated budget deficit of $220,000 at the end of this fiscal year, nearly $1 million ahead of the last forecast of -$1.2 million. The budget reductions made last week will result in a $290,000 savings that helps us stay on track with our Statutory Operating Debt plan.
Without making these changes, our district would be heading towards SOD again in a few short years. Making changes now will not only stabilize us and get us out of SOD, but will allow for future investment opportunities and program growth.
Even as these reductions are made, we are expanding opportunities for students. We are expanding course offerings and offering more college credit and industry certifications and new courses in fields like emergency medical careers, home health, sports medicine, law enforcement, agriculture, and art. Things will look a little different with some of our courses, with some classes being offered in alternate years, which is a common practice in school districts to maximize the number of course offerings and experiences in which students can take advantage of throughout high school.
This could not have happened without strong community input, including staff and community members, through the strategic planning process and countless listening sessions over the past eight months. We will keep communication channels open and want to continue to work together to make GFW Public Schools a destination district for staff and students alike.