North Kitsap School Board postpones vote on budget approval; special meeting set for July 28

POULSBO — Making it clear they did not have enough time to discuss the final draft of the 2011-12 budget, North Kitsap School Board members voted unanimously Thursday to postpone budget approval.

The board will hold a special meeting July 28 at 6 p.m. to discuss the budget and the search for a new superintendent. The meeting will be held in the district board room. Action can be taken.

"The search and budget alone have enough weight to hold a special meeting," board president Val Torrens said.

Board members said Thursday they would be uncomfortable making a decision.

"I haven't really had time to look at this and there are so many unknowns," board member Tim Anderson said during the meeting. "I think it's just too early."

The board will vote on more than $2 million in cuts. The proposed cuts include 28 full-time equivalent positions, which the board has already authorized for pink slips if additional funding is not found.

The proposed budget expenditures expected for the 2011-12 school year include a general fund of $63,973,180, down from $65,861,470 in 2010-11. The general fund is financed by local, county state and federal sources. It pays for school operations such as programs, salaries and benefits, food services, maintenance, student transportation, printing and data processing.

If the budget is adopted, funding for basic education will be cut by $3,383,602, a 7.3 percent decrease from 2010-11.

Because some of the budget documents were posted either Thursday or a day or two before the meeting, North Kitsap Educators Association president Chris Fraser said she appreciated the delay.

"Any steps that they take to have a full set of information to weigh their decision is positive," Fraser said.

With the release of the latest community survey, Fraser said she hopes the board will take the comments seriously.

Along with the current cuts, Fraser has suggested reducing maintenance and utilities in an attempt to find more money to bring cut staff back.

"Ultimately the board is going to decide how comfortable they are and how deep they want to cut," she said. "But there are still opportunities to cut both stuff and staff that don't provide direct services to kids."

But not all funding to resources are being cut.

Just after the board tabled its decision on the budget adoption, it approved the expenditure of $384,588 for new math textbooks.

Anderson and Ed Strickland voted against the adoption.

The textbooks come from Holt Publishing Co. Payments for the textbooks are on a two-year deferred payment plan. The district will spend $192,294 in next year's budget and $192,294 in 2012-13.


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