NKSD may cut equivalent of 11 teachers from 2013-14 budget

POULSBO — Up to 11 teachers could lose their jobs next year because of a projected $3 million deficit in the 2013-14 budget.

The potential cuts were presented April 25 during the regular North Kitsap School Board meeting in the administrative building.

A total of 27.30 teaching positions need to be reduced, according to district documents. However, the equivalent of 16 teachers plan to either retire, resign, or be on leave of absence. That means the board would need to cut 11.30 jobs in order to reach the reduction of 27.30.

The cuts would bring the total number of teaching positions down from 354.30 to 327 in the 2013-14 school year. The potential cuts would be the equivalent of about 10 positions from elementary schools, 14.5 from secondary schools, and almost three from special education.

District administrators are not sure how the potential cuts would impact the student/teacher ratio, Superintendent Patty Page said.

"At this stage, we are currently still looking at how that will shake out," Page wrote in an email. "Depending on how it is divided up, it can look different. I wish we were there, but we are still in the discussion stage with all administrators."

The rationale for the cuts, according to documents, is the district is overstaffed for the 2012-13 school year based on the number of students. The district has seen a continuing decline in student enrollment over the last several years.

Total student enrollment in the North Kitsap School District is expected to drop below 6,000 next school year. The district expects to have a total of 5,916 students, a loss of about 116 students, according to a district document.

The enrollment projection is a 10.1 percent decrease from the 2005-06 school year, when 6,578.31 students were counted.

School districts receive funding from state, federal and other levels for each full-time student enrolled. The majority of the funding comes from the state, which averages about $5,200 per student each year for basic education.

Looking into the district's records back to 2002-03 — and spot-checking a few years before – former district interim finance director Debra Aungst could not find any year where the average full-time enrollment was less than 6,000.

On top of the continuing loss in enrollment, the district is close to receiving a financial warning from the state Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction. The school district is in the 18th worst financial condition in Washington. There are 295 school districts in Washington.

The school board voted to close Breidablik Elementary Feb. 28 effective the end of this school year, in an effort to save money. That decision is being appealed by two parents in the district. The district is also looking at selling the district offices and property it owns at Island Lake.



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