By Kim Prentice, Director of Community Relations, Clover Park School District
On Saturday, Dec. 11, the Washington State Legislature approved a plan that will reduce the state’s $1.1 billion deficit. One of the largest reductions was to the state’s education budget. The legislature used $208 million in federal education dollars for education jobs and eliminated $39.2 million in K-4 class size enhancements.
In Clover Park School District, these reductions mean the loss of approximately $2.2 million in federal “EduJobs” funding that district officials had hoped to use for staffing in the 2011-12 school year.
In addition, the district will lose another $1.45 million in K-4 class size reductions. These funds were to be used to pay for teachers who are under contract for the remainder of the 2010-11 school year.
Across the state, school districts dealt with reductions made earlier this fall. In Clover Park School District, cuts were made in K-4 class size enhancements and Local Effort Assistance funding in the amount of $540,000.
“It is fairly unusual to have reductions made during a school year,” said Debbie LeBeau, superintendent of Clover Park School District.
“We anticipated some of the reductions and set aside some funding to help us buffer the cuts. However, these cuts are short term fixes and we don’t know what the Legislature will do for the upcoming biennium,” LeBeau explained.
The funding reductions made last week will affect students now and more dramatically in the 2011-12 school year. In fact, in the next biennial budget, the state is facing a $5 billion overrun. In short, schools will have fewer resources and students will most likely feel the impact more directly.
“Our students and staff will be okay this school year, thanks to our conservative and prudent planning. We are concerned about what reductions may be coming our way,” said LeBeau.