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Central Kitsap drafts budget options — Some school programs saved by levy, but reductions still need to be made

The Central Kitsap School District is searching for budget cuts that have the least negative effect on students.

Following the passage of a supplemental levy, the district still faces a budget shortfall of about $1.5 million for the 2012-2013 school year, no decisions have been finalized on what programs or positions may see a reduction or cuts, but options have been drafted.

Programs that may be reduced or cut include library, diversity, elementary band and orchestra and building technology coordinator, among others. The options could look different after the Legislature delivers a budget and it’s signed by the governor.

Four draft budget options have been created based on input received from staff and community members who attended a series of January budget forums and completed an online survey. They were discussed during a March 8 Central Kitsap School Board study session as well as presented to the community during a meeting last Thursday and a second that was scheduled for Wednesday.

If the district moves forward with one of the current draft options, some programs would see reductions of anywhere from 0.27 percent to 66.67 percent of the total programs’ cost. Two programs, diversity and secondary building technology coordinator, could be completely cut based off of the draft options.

“These options are only as good as you want them to be,” Superintendent Greg Lynch told school board members at the study session.

While the supplemental levy that voters approved of in February will save portions of the library, technology, maintenance and grounds, custodial, elementary class size, co-curricular and learning specialist programs, reductions for next school year will need to occur. The levy will bring in $2 million for next school year. This is the seventh year in a row that the district faces making cuts, Lynch said.

“We did take disproportionate cuts,” Lynch said of past years. “We did that to protect the classrooms.”

Next school year’s reductions will “hopefully” not have a deep impact on programs and students, administrators said. All of the draft options incorporate feedback based on what parents, students and staff voiced as being priorities — or not — to keep.

In one draft option, secondary interventions — programs included to help academically struggling students — would be reduced by $145,000, or 14.72 percent of the total program cost, and the program keeping elementary class sizes from increasing would be reduced by about $1.27 million, or about 6.4 percent of the total program cost. The diversity program, which costs $90,000 and is not funded by the state, would be cut.

In the same option, all-day kindergarten and the mentoring program would not see any reductions. All-day kindergarten costs the district $730,000 and $530,000 of that is not funded by the state. The $50,000 mentoring program, where younger students are paired with an older student mentor, or secondary students are paired with an adult mentor, does not receive state dollars.

David McVicker, the district’s finance director, said that the last time the district didn’t have all-day kindergarten, about 80 students left the district to neighboring districts that did offer the program.

“We want to do the minimal amount of harm as possible,” McVicker said.

All the programs associated with option one were formally funded by the state but no longer receive state money. The district currently operates these programs through grants and other means.

The second draft option integrates community and staff input based on their priorities as well as board criteria priority. Fifteen different programs or areas would be affected by this option. The largest hits would be to diversity with a reduction of 66.67 percent, secondary building technology coordinator at 50 percent and elementary band and orchestra at a 37.44 percent reduction.

Programs that would see less of a reduction in the same draft option include special education with a reduction of 0.27 percent and secondary staffing with a reduction of 0.3 percent.

In the third draft option, 14 programs or areas would see reductions. Many of them are the same programs included in the second option. In this draft option, online survey information and board criteria priority are incorporated. The diversity program would be cut and secondary building technology coordinator would be reduced by 50 percent. The elementary band and orchestra program would see a reduction by 37.44 percent, just as in the second option.

A 2.55 percent reduction for Jenne-Wright administration support that is included in both the second and third options would be the loss of one position, McVicker said.

Some programs that were not included in the second option to be reduced but are in the third option include secondary Advanced Placement staffing being reduced by 32 percent, at risk program being reduced by 10 percent, secondary intervention being reduced by 2.3 percent and secondary counselor being reduced by 2.46 percent.

Where a 5.47 percent reduction of the library program is included in the second option, there is no library reduction in the third option. The $30,000 reduction in the co-curricular program, which is 1.34 percent of the total program, includes sports or extracurricular activities. If a co-curricular reduction were to impact a sport, it would be toward a boys sport and not a girls team, said McVicker.

One idea in reducing the costs of the co-curricular program is to turn junior high school sports into an intramural program while bumping up ninth graders to play on high school sports teams, said Lynch at last week’s community budget meeting.

“It will save the district money,” he said.

Others ways to go about reducing the cost of sports and activities is through cutting back on purchasing equipment or providing student transportation, added McVicker.

“People are going to be willing to do whatever it takes but at one point there is a breaking point,” board member Christy Cathcart said of the community’s willingness to keep programs through fundraising and other alternatives.

In the fourth draft option, modifications are made to the reductions of the library, secondary building technology coordinator, elementary band and orchestra and diversity programs. The library program would see a reduction of 1.66 percent, which would be a cut to the clerical portion of the program, said McVicker. The secondary building technology coordinator program would be entirely eliminated and thus the responsibilities of that program would move to the library program, he added.

Elementary band and orchestra would see a reduction of 50 percent and the diversity program a reduction of 55.56 percent in the fourth option. McVicker said currently eight of the 12 elementary schools have an orchestra and all the elementary schools have band.

The school board will likely be presented options and a recommendation in regards to the budget and potential program reductions at its April 11 board meeting, according to McVicker.

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