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Second chance to attend school district budget meeting Tuesday

KINGSTON — Since North Kitsap voters renewed a levy in 2010, Superintendent Richard Jones began holding meetings to keep the community updated on the district's finances.

The first of those meetings this year was held Oct. 4 at the Kingston High School Library. Aside from district Financial Director Chris Hatch, Jones and a member of the media, one person showed up.

"I don't know if people are busy or they know they will just hear more of the same," Jones said.

A second meeting is scheduled for Tuesday at 7 p.m. in the North Kitsap High School Library.

Jones' presentation included a summary of the budget reductions for the 2011-12 school year and an explanation on how levy money is being spent this year. The meeting was also planned to include a discussion on a possible supplemental levy to help with decreasing revenue.

There are many possibilities why people did not attend the meeting. Kingston High School science instructor Kathleen Pavlich, the one person who attended, said, among other things, people may just be tired of hearing bad news.

In August, the North Kitsap School Board accepted a budget, which reduced a total of $4,173,299. This money included a reduction of 28 full time equivalent certificated staff — reducing the number of teachers and librarians — and a 1.5 reduction in administrative positions — elimination of assistant director of special education and an assistant high school principal.

During the meeting, Jones said he expects the Washington State Legislature to make further cuts from education funding this December when the Legislature once again goes into a special session. Last year, the Legislature cut into education by reducing funding to lower class sizes — I-728 — and continued a freeze on I-732, which funds annual cost-of-living salary adjustments for kindergarten through grade 12 employees.

On top of funding reductions, the school district lost 108 students between Oct. 1 2010 and Oct. 1 2011, Jones said.

In order for the district's revenue to stay above 3 percent, Jones said another $1.2 million in cuts will be needed. The $1.2 million does not include any cuts made by the Legislature.

The district will receive between $13 and $15 million until 2014, when the current levy runs out. A maximum of $13.6 million can be collected for the 2011-12 year.

One alternative to combat reductions in funding and lower student enrollment would be a supplemental levy. A levy lid lift would also be possible, but would bring about $140,000.

Jones said by next year, the district will be at the levy lid of 28 percent. A technology levy — which could help pay for everything technology based except staff — could provide about $650,000 to the district.

 

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