NCSD to Close Four Schools Due to Budget Cuts

A potential 50-million dollar budget cut has Natrona County School officials bracing for the worst.

We spoke with district staff to find out how this potential cut could impact students.

Strategies to fit a 150 million dollar budget were presented Monday during a board budget committee meeting before the big meeting Monday night.

Among many ideas mentioned some included: combining classrooms, reducing staff and staff pay.

NCSD Board Trustee Raymond Catellier commented, “Ideas like don’t water the landscape to eliminate all transportation, we are looking at what other school districts are doing as far as class sizes."

School officials said they want to give everything a dollar amount to see where potential cuts can be made.

"As a board we just wanted to see what would happen if that was to come down from the legislature all at once what effect that would have on the school district."

We also spoke with parents who agree and said if the budget is cut, staffing should be too.

Parent Rachel Muhlbeier commented, “They talk about consolidating students and making bigger classrooms but what’s not on the table and what is repeatedly said that their trying to avoid is layoffs of teachers."
Combining classrooms was one suggestion made at the meeting which would place around 40 NCSD teachers out of jobs.

Muhlbeier said she knows the board has tough decisions ahead of them.

"Any decision that they make is not going to make somebody happy there is no way to win across the board. Every decision they make is going to affect either a student and their family or a teacher and their family and I don't envy them at all."

NCSD officials want to stress the ideas are not happening now, just ideas on the table.

Officials also said they will not know of state education budget cuts until spring next year.

They currently have an annual budget of around 200-million dollars.
During the Monday night school board meeting parents, teachers and students packed Kelly Walsh High School to speak with the board about school cuts and closures.

The board ultimately voted 8-1 to close four Natrona County Schools next school year, including: Willard Elementary, Mountain View Elementary, University Park Elementary and Frontier Middle School.

Join News 13 later today for more about the cuts and closures.