The state’s 2009-11 projected budget, the federal government’s anticipated stimulus package and declining enrollment are just three of many factors Clover Park School District officials are grappling with as they develop a budget for the 2009-10 school year. Current estimates project a $6 million shortfall for the district for 2009-10.
According to Ray Miller, the district’s administrator for business services and capital projects, “Our immediate focus is on the upcoming school year. However, we know the state’s shortfall will be with us over the whole biennium (09-11). So, we also need to anticipate less revenue for the following year as well. If you listen to the economic forecasts, our financial difficulties could be with us even beyond the biennium.”
Despite the less than positive outlook, school district officials are committed to minimizing budget reductions directly impacting classroom instruction and student learning. Clover Park School District superintendent Debbie LeBeau has established a priority to minimize impacts to class sizes for the 2009-10 school year.
“We have made good strides toward tightening our belt by managing the costs of out of state travel and retreats more efficiently,” said LeBeau. “And, we have a freeze on all non-school hiring and non-essential spending (including travel).”
District administrators discussed the dynamics and possible reductions for the district’s 2009-10 budget.
“We are being conservative in our approach to budget development for 2009-10,” stressed Miller. “We are not counting on money that hasn’t come to us yet and there are many unknowns related to possible new federal funding.”
However, some parameters have been established including:
‚Ä¢ Reduced spending districtwide in the current school year to lessen the impact of possible reductions for next school year; and
‚Ä¢ When all state and federal revenues and reductions have been finalized, prioritizing potential programs and services restoration.
The district’s administrative leadership team met Feb. 10 to provide input to the proposed budget reductions. Other meetings are being scheduled to communicate the information and process as well as receive input from other stakeholders. According to the district’s budget development calendar, a preliminary budget reduction plan is due Monday, March 2. Early budget development is necessary to allow adequate time to establish reductions as necessary and communicate both with the community and affected employee groups.
“We will continue to keep employees and our community informed as we make these very difficult decisions,” said LeBeau.