Nampa’s new shortfall number: $3.5 million

The Nampa School District has found a little bit of budget savings.

But not nearly enough to balance its budget for 2013-14 — or head off some difficult labor negotiations later this week.

The district has found 10 more certified positions, including teaching jobs, that it will freeze for next year. By leaving these open positions unfilled, the district will save about $500,000.

But that still leaves Idaho’s third largest school district staring at a shortfall of nearly $3.5 million. The district is anticipating revenues of roughly $71 million, so the shortfall represents about 5 percent of the 2013-14 budget.

“(I’d) sure like to see the deficit number go down more than it did,” School Board member Dale Wheeler said during a budget work session Tuesday night.

Whittling that deficit will almost certainly occur in labor negotiations with the Nampa Education Association, which will resume Friday morning.

Among the options: Imposing unpaid furlough days and passing along some or all of an 11 percent increase in insurance benefits costs to employees.

Pete Koehler
Interim superintendent Pete Koehler

Asked whether the district and the union would be able to come to terms by July 1, interim Superintendent Pete Koehler was noncommittal.

“I don’t know,” he told Wheeler. “I sincerely don’t know.”

For Nampa administrators, however, the clock is ticking. By state law, the district is supposed to publish a budget proposal — a balanced budget proposal — in June 4 legal notices.

Check back at Idaho Education News Friday for coverage of the labor negotiations.