Issaquah School District faces $3 million loss in House budget

April 7, 2011

By Warren Kagarise

NEW — 8 a.m. April 7, 2011

Issaquah School District administrators, already facing $1.45 million in state cuts, decried the $3 million trim outlined in the state House of Representative’s proposed budget.

The proposal comes after legislators slashed $1 million from Issaquah schools in December and another $450,000 last month.

Under the plan the House unveiled Monday, the district stands to lose another $3.095 million in the proposed 2012 budget.

“While any cuts to our operations budget are devastating — especially on the heels of more nearly $12 million in reductions the past two years — the silver lining in this proposal is that it maintains the instructional day and maintains our ability to collect local levy funding,” Jacob Kuper, finance and operations chief for the Issaquah district, said in a statement.

The proposed 2012 budget is similar to the proposed budget Gov. Chris Gregoire released in December. The state Senate is expected to release a budget proposal soon. Then, legislators and the governor negotiate to produce a final budget. The task is difficult because the state faces a $5.1 billion shortfall in the 2011-13 budget.

Representatives proposed suspended the smaller class sizes and teacher-pay increases mandated in initiatives 728 and 732, and suspend a plan to reduce kindergarten-through-fourth-grade class-size class sizes. Combined, the cuts could save the cash-strapped state more than $1 billion.

In addition, the proposed House budget  increases employer contributions for pension plans and lowers a calculation factor for collecting local maintenance-and-operations levies. Unlike Gregoire’s proposal, the proposed House budget does not impact funding for gifted students.

Teachers seeking National Board Certification could also face reduced bonuses for attaining the prestigious certification: $3,000, rather than the $5,000 offered now.

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