Busting the Budget

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While the Washoe County School District projected a 2.4-percent growth rate, that did not occur, Spanish Springs Elementary saw a growth of about 9-percent.
They ended last year with 825 students, and began this year with 900 students.

But, the superintendent, Paul Dugan, says this is not the problem the district saw throughout the region this school year.
"The students weren't there... we had to come up with 5 and a half million dollars in order to make sure to balance the budget."

The district says money they had invested added about 900-thousand dollars in interest earned totaling 1.75 million dollars.
Vacant positions at 9 elementary, 1 middle, and 6 high schools would remain vacant throughout the year because they were no longer needed.
That's when the "shuffling" began.

The district decided 24 teachers from schools that over-estimated the student population were going to be placed in schools like Spanish Springs that had even more students than expected.

The principal, Bob LeVitt, says they actually had 100 more students than expected, so they were eligible to get four new teachers.
"It didn't mean we had four additional classrooms. We have no classroom space available at this point, so we had to get creative."

Brenda Carlson is one of the new language arts teachers.
As you walk around her new classroom, you realize this school is using every bit of space possible.
"As you can see here I have half of a closet. This is the D-wing closet I share with the kiln, and the biggest thing on the other side of my room is the PE equipment."

Principal LeVitt explains the new teachers rove from class to class, and help wherever possible.
"We use them as language arts rovers. So, we put them in storage rooms and different alcoves where they can work with small groups of kids."

These four teachers not only pull aside young readers and writers, they also teach 55 minute classes... allowing the main teacher more time to focus on special projects or even give extra help to a student.
It's actually a "shuffle" principals say happen each year with enrollment projections... but, this year it just affected more schools.

We're going to look more at this annual shuffle that occurs across the district each year as principals work with the school district to try and estimate next year's student enrollment.
Friday night's Teaching Our Kids special report, Busting the Budget, will air at five and will examine how re-zoning could affect where your child goes to school next year.