District loses another $450,000 in state cuts
March 8, 2011
By Laura Geggel
State lawmakers have approved a second supplemental budget that will cut another $450,000 from the Issaquah School District’s operations budget.
The cuts are in addition to other cuts the state Legislature has already made to the district. In December, the state Legislature approved mid-year cuts that took away $1 million from Issaquah schools for 2010-11. When those cuts were not enough to balance the budget, legislators made further reductions Feb. 18.
“In total, we will receive $1.45 million less this school year than the state promised us in August, when we set our operations budget and signed all of our annual contracts,” Jake Kuper, district chief of finance and operations, said in a news release. “A mid-year reduction like this is unprecedented and particularly damaging because we can’t back out of our set obligations, even though the state is backing out of its” obligations.
The district will have to dig deeper into its reserve fund to finance the remaining school year, diverting money that had been set aside for material adoptions. The district will have to rely on its community partners, such as the Issaquah Schools Foundation, to update its curricula, school district spokeswoman Sara Niegowski said.
In August, the district had $14.5 million in its reserves, amounting to about 9 percent of its total general fund budget. About $1.45 million, or about 10 percent, has been taken out of the district’s reserves because of mid-year reductions from the state, Kuper said.
Even with those cuts, the Legislature has another $200 million budget gap to fill this fiscal year. Districts across the state will absorb more budget cuts in the next two years, as lawmakers balance the 2011-13 budget, which has a $4.6 billion deficit.
District administrators are working closely with representatives to stay updated and provide information about budget proposals and bills that will impact student learning, Niegowski said.
Gov. Chris Gregoire’s biennial budget would cut funding to the district by $3.17 million next year. Both houses of the Legislature are crafting proposals. The end result is typically a blend of the proposals.
Submit budget ideas to www.issaquah.wednet.edu. Select “District” from the top menu, go to “District Departments,” click on “Finances” and then “Budget.”