School officials waiting on Olympia before starting budget
April 6, 2010
By Chantelle Lusebrink
NEW — 6:37 p.m. April 6, 2010
Snoqualmie Valley School District officials are still waiting to fully develop their 2010-11 school budget, while legislators work to resolve the state’s budget issues.
Gov. Chris Gregoire announced she would call the Legislature back for a special session March 11 when representatives couldn’t reach consensus on new tax initiatives. The special session convened March 15.
With forecasted revenue losses between $2.7 million and $6.4 million, based on supplemental budgets from the Legislature, school officials are bracing for impact and waiting to develop the coming school year budget.
“There continues to be unknowns as to ultimately where the budget is going to land,” Snoqualmie Valley Superintendent Joel Aune said at the March 25 school board meeting.
Under Gregoire’s budget proposal in January, the district would lose about $1.8 million, according to school district Business Director Ron Ellis.
The majority of cuts in the Legislature’s and Gregoire’s proposed budgets are to resources allocated for class-size reduction.
“I’m still pretty confident that that number is the worst case scenario,” Aune said, when asked if he thought the cuts would balloon like they did last year.
If the worst case scenario does happen, the district could have to lay off up to 26 teachers, Ellis said. After looking at attrition rates, in terms of retirements and resignations, Aune said the district might not have to lay off any teachers at all, but he won’t know for sure until the Legislature completes its budget.
Last year, district officials had to present lay-off notices to six teachers, five custodians and several administrators, and cut the hours for instructional assistants and secretaries, as a means to manage their own budget. All of the teachers given layoff notices were recalled when federal stimulus money and cuts in other areas allowed them to hire them back.
As the special session continues, legislators will look at what tax package, including a three-tenths of a cent increase to the state’s sales tax, an increase on the current tax on beer to 50 cents per gallon or additional taxes on bottled water, soda and candy will be considered as ways to solve the budget gap before the special session ends April 13.
Chantelle Lusebrink: 392-6434, ext. 241, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Laura Geggel: 392-6434, ext. 221, or email@example.com.