Issaquah School District could lose $4.3 million under proposed budget
May 24, 2011
By Laura Geggel
NEW — 3:35 p.m. May 24, 2011
The Issaquah School District could lose $4.321 million for each of the next two years if the Legislature and governor approve the joint budget released by the state House of Representatives and state Senate on Tuesday.
Statewide, the joint budget would give school districts $1 billion less than promised and cut two voter-approved initiatives, state Superintendent Randy Dorn said in a news release.
“In short, they will mean that students in Washington state will not receive as complete an education as they did just a few years ago,” Dorn said in the release.
The most significant cuts affect salary apportionment and staffing ratios, Issaquah district spokeswoman Sara Niegowski said. Both certified and classified staff would experience a 1.9 percent decrease in base salary allocations, and certificated administrators would see a 3 percent in decrease in base salary allocations.
The joint budget also eliminates the enhancement to keep kindergarten through fourth-grade classes smaller and increases pension-rate contributions by 2 percent, Niegowski added.
“The bottom line is that we are taking a significant hit in basic education funding,” said Jacob Kuper, district chief of finance and operations. “This is on top of almost $12 million in cuts over the last two years.”
Dorn called the proposed budget “unconstitutional” because it affects basic education, a funding area guaranteed in the state Constitution.
“The proposed cuts to teacher salaries, classroom sizes in early grades, alternative learning programs and Medicaid billing are all basic education,” he said. “I believe those cuts are unconstitutional and will lead to fewer teachers and larger class sizes.”
The budget also proposes cuts to Running Start, food services and summer vocational programs at skills centers, Dorn said.
“I look forward to the day when our economy recovers, and we can truly fully fund an ample education for all children in our state,” he said.
The budget has two more hurdles to pass before it is implemented. Both the state House and Senate need to vote on a compromise budget, before Gov. Chris Gregoire signs it.