NK School district eyes state budget cuts
June 10, 2008 · Updated 6:06 PM
POULSBO Reverberations from state budget cuts to education funding have reached North Kitsap schools.
While its too early to tell if the states cuts will have any significant effect on the school districts programs, number of teachers, or class size, the district has begun calculations on how much money it lost in the cuts.
The initial estimate is $717,926 in lost funds, which will be lessened by $210,687 the district will receive next year in I-728 funds.
Some additional I-728 funds worth as much as $72,491 may also be rolled over from this years allocation.
Terry Heindl, the districts assistant superintendent in charge of finance, said the district will work to ensure that any cuts that are made arent very deep: There are a lot of things we can do, and were going to do them, said Heindl.
He said, I dont see us making massive changes.
Massive changes may not be coming, but the district has some new hurdles thanks to the states new budget.
The state provided the district with new funds through a flex fund, but also slashed other funds, including those that paid for mentor teachers, principal interns, truancy programs and student resource officers. Those programs arent going away, but the district will have to pick up costs that arent covered by the new flex-fund money; initial calculations pit those costs at $75,348.
The state funds a specific number of teachers per 1,000 K-4 students; this year, the new budget reduced the ratio of teachers it pays for.
The state pays some teachers salaries during learning improvement days. This year, they eliminated the money for one of those days; however, the number of days is locked in to the districts contract with the teachers union. Either the district would have to negotiate that day out of the contract or, more likely, it will have to pick up the costs itself; for state-funded teachers thats $104,702.
The most costly change worth $240,459 is also the most complicated. The state pays for salaries of many of the districts teachers, levy funds pay for the other teachers. Up until now, the state has calculated how much money it gives the school district for only the state-funded teachers. But the state has changed the funding formula; now it calculates the amount according to the salaries of all teachers, including those paid for with levy and other funds. Because the teachers not funded by the state are often less experienced and, because of that, less expensive, this will cut the amount of money the district gets from the state.
The impact those cuts will have is still difficult to anticipate. Heindl hopes the district will trim some funds, as well as use extra dollars the state is providing such as an increased number of special education dollars and I-728 funds to lessen other losses.
Some programs may have to be trimmed to make up for the losses. The school board members will have to decide on those cuts for the next
school year as the end of the year approaches.