CANYON CITY – Grant County will pick up the $100,000 deductible for Grant School District 3’s flood damage.

The Grant County Court made that decision last week to help out the district, which already is facing unprecedented budget constraints.

District 3 Superintendent Mark  Witty requested the aid from the county at the Court’s May 25 meeting, and offered letters of support from other districts.

“We’re in pretty great need,” he said.

The May 15 flood sent waters streaming across the Grant Union High School campus. Emergency crews were able to divert the waters at the track, preventing the flood from swamping the high school buildings.

Even so, the damage was estimated at at least $700,000 – about $300,000 of that to the athletic field and track.

Witty told the Court he initially thought the deductible would be assessed at 5 percent of the loss. However, the policies turned out to set a $100,000 maximum deductible for this incident. 

The district is at the maximum, he said. If the costs rise, the deductible should remain at that level as long as it’s the same incident.

Hal Smith, a member of the county budget committee, asked if districts usually tap contingency funds to cover things like insurance deductibles.

“We don’t have one,” replied Witty. “That’s the problem.”

He said that because of the district’s fiscal crisis, unrelated to the flooding, the new budget has been pared by 10 percent. District 3 is cutting staff and closing one school to cope with dwindling state support, tied to state budget problems and the shrinking enrollment in the local schools.

Court members discussed the possibility of raising the county’s contribution to all the county schools, which would cover the deductible for District 3 – but also would cost the county more money. However, they opted instead to cut a check specifically for the deductible in the District 3 emergency, and keep the other schools’ aid at the level approved previously.

County Judge Mark Webb also threw out a suggestion about lending the money at a low interest rate, rather than giving it to the district. That idea faded quickly after Commissioner Boyd Britton quipped that “if they default, we’d have to take over the schools. I do not want to do that.”

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