Issaquah schools budget set to receive slight boost

August 19, 2014

The Issaquah School District will receive an additional $5.4 million from the state government, which equates to revenue growth of less than 1 percent in the 2014-15 school year.

Public school districts and the state Legislature continue to battle over the McCleary decision of 2012, which said lawmakers weren’t fully funding basic education costs and called for them to rectify the situation.

The state increased funding by about $1 billion for its 2013-15 biennial budget, but that isn’t quite cutting it when it comes to meeting the requirements of the McCleary decision, school officials said.

“Though a billion dollars sounds like a lot, when you split it over two years and divide it by 295 school districts, you see it translates to a rather minute increase in the proportion of state revenue,” said Jake Kuper, the Issaquah district’s chief of finance and operations.

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Issaquah School District officials propose ‘flat’ $167.5 million budget

August 14, 2012

“Flat” was the key word Aug. 8, when the Issaquah School District rolled out its draft budget for the 2012-13 academic year to the tune of $167.46 million.

But it wasn’t necessarily a bad word. In this case, flat means not only no major leaps in spending or state funding but also no major program reductions or changes in class-size allocation.

“Who thought flat state funding would be an exciting thing?” asked Jake Kuper, chief of finance and operations for the district.

When the recession hit in 2008, state funding for schools began a steep downward spiral that totaled a nearly $16 million loss for the district. During the 2008-09 school year the state paid 68 percent of the district’s bills. Since then, that rate has dropped to 60.8 percent and there, Kuper said, is where it remains stagnant.

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Union calls for action on school crowding

September 13, 2011

After passing their latest district spending plan, Issaquah school officials quickly stated that despite funding cuts and the overall economic downturn, local class sizes had remained the same.

“We were able to retain our class sizes from the prior year’s budget cycle,” said Jake Kuper, Issaquah School District chief of finance and operations.

That may be true, according to Phyllis Runyon, president of the Issaquah Education Association, the local teachers union.

But Runyon also said teachers still are struggling with oversized classes throughout the district. She added there are at least a few overloaded classes in every building and also talked about class size problems at specific schools and in specific grade levels.

For example, there are about 36 science and language arts-social studies classes overloaded at Beaver Middle Lake Middle School, Runyon said. She also talked about crowded conditions in secondary music classes.

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Issaquah School Board adopts $287.7 million budget

September 13, 2011

On the last day allowed by state law, the Issaquah School Board on Aug. 31 passed its 2011-2012 budget.

The overall plan includes expenditures of $287.7 million, including general fund spending of $161.5 million, according to district Chief of Finance and Operations Jake Kuper.

As with most governmental budgets, the general fund pays for the day-to-day operations of the district and includes items like class materials and salaries.

Outside of the general fund, the overall budget includes $1.5 million for the purchase of new buses, $68.2 million for capital improvements, $49.5 million for debt service and a $7 million allocation for spending by student groups.

During the recent board discussion, board member Chad Magendanz warned that Olympia legislators still could have some surprises in store for the district. Magendanz said he has seen hints that a special session of the Legislature could occur with adjustments to the state budget at the top of the agenda.

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Issaquah School District budget saves teachers, but increases fees

August 2, 2011

Overall, thanks in part to a voter-approved levy lid lift, the Issaquah School District is doing better financially than many other Washington school systems.

That’s the message Issaquah school board members will hear from district financial staff Aug. 9.

The board plans a public hearing on the 2011-12 school budget that evening during its regular meeting at 7 p.m. in the district administration building.

Officials are expected to finalize the budget at a subsequent meeting Aug. 24.

Perhaps the biggest piece of the school financial puzzle was settled in May. That’s when state officials finally passed a two-year budget plan, and school districts here and elsewhere around the state learned what sort of support Olympia would be sending them in the next few years.

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Issaquah School District could lose more than $3 million from governor’s cuts

December 17, 2010

NEW — 12:15 p.m. Dec. 17, 2010

The Issaquah School District is slated to lose $3.17 million in the proposed budget Gov. Chris Gregoire released Wednesday.

The 2011-13 proposed budget aims to address a $4.6 billion shortfall.

“This is on top more than $10 million in cuts from the last two budget cycles and a $1-million midyear cut to our current budget from Saturday’s special session,” Issaquah Superintendent Steve Rasmussen said in a statement. “If I have said we were down to the bone before now, this starts cutting into the marrow of classroom operations.”

State legislators already cut $1 million from the Issaquah district during a round of budget cutting Dec. 10.

Gregoire’s budget reduces or eliminates funding in seven key areas for Washington’s public K-12 education, including: Read more

State cuts $1 million from Issaquah district

December 14, 2010

The state Legislature cut $1 million from the Issaquah School District’s 2010-11 funding during a one-day special session Dec. 11.

District administrators will have to dip into reserves to maintain the staffing ratios and operating budget authorized in August, Superintendent Steve Rasmussen said. Using reserve funds now will impact future projects, including curriculum adoptions and may decrease noncontractual service levels.

“It is absolutely unprecedented and highly challenging to have the Legislature cut our funding mid-school year,” Rasmussen said.

Issaquah’s Chief of Finance and Operations Jacob Kuper said, “It’s like the Issaquah School District has just been handed a million dollars of debt.” Read more

Issaquah School District loses $1 million due to state cuts

December 13, 2010

NEW — 1:25 p.m. Dec. 13, 2010

The state Legislature cut $1 million from the Issaquah School District’s 2010-11 funding during a one-day special session Saturday.

District administrators will have to dip into reserves to maintain the staffing ratios and operating budget authorized in August, Superintendent Steve Rasmussen said. Using reserve funds now will impact future projects, including curriculum adoptions and may decrease noncontractual service levels.

“It is absolutely unprecedented and highly challenging to have the Legislature cut our funding mid-school year,” Rasmussen said.

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School district officials meet with state legislators

May 25, 2010

Issaquah School District officials met with state legislators to discuss the 2009 session at a meeting May 12.

The meeting was held before the evening’s regular school board meeting.

State Sens. Rodney Tom and Randy Gordon, and state Reps. Glenn Anderson, Deborah Eddy and Marcie Maxwell met with Issaquah School Board members to address education initiatives from the legislative session.

They also talked about reconciling the state’s budget this year and the expected budget gap coming next session that could greatly impact services to districts. Legislators said school districts, unions and parents would need to work together with one voice and agenda to help secure critical funding.

In addition, the officials and legislators spoke about the state’s Race to the Top application and legislative work around education reform through House Bill 2261.

Legislators also addressed rumblings of a potential initiative to go before voters for a state income tax. However, legislators said they have yet to see the initiative, nor have they heard of anyone who has signed onto it.

Board approves $149 million budget

September 1, 2009

A quorum of Issaquah School Board members unanimously approved a $149.6 million budget Aug. 26. Read more

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