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CK School District budget outlook slightly better

The Central Kitsap School District’s 2012-2013 budget forecast turned slightly sunnier than officials thought a few weeks ago, but it’s still as much as $1.1 million short.

“$1.1 million is a lot, but still better than $1.6 million,” said David McVicker, the district’s director of business and operations.

The uncertainty about the budget is because of a program the Central Kitsap district relies on for a big portion of funding.

McVicker said he received word the district’s budget would be short between $700,000 and $1.1 million, depending on how much money it gets from the federal Impact Aid Program. The program grants money to schools that are “financially burdened by federal activities,” according to the department of education.

Schools qualify for Impact Aid in several ways, including having Native American students and children of military members.

Impact Aid changes every year based on how much money is available, McVicker said.

The Central Kitsap district won’t know exactly how much money it will get from the program until December 2012, but needs to approve their budget sooner, McVicker said.

It’s tough to continue to cut when the district has already reduced its budget annually for the last six years, but necessary, said Superintendent Greg Lynch.

Elementary band, music, library and diversity programs are all on the extensive list of items that might be reduced.

The option to reduce music education for Central Kitsap 5th and 6th graders worries some music staff and parents.

District administrators have said they’re studying cutting music time to save as much as $192,000 in payroll and give kids more time in science and reading classes.

Peggy Ellis, director of elementary education, said the idea came out of feedback from parents and staff at community forums held in late January.

Kirsten Nicholson, president of the Central Kitsap Education Association, said she doesn’t remember any community forum or event where staff or parents made such suggestions.

“The community forums felt scripted and controlled and feedback was limited,” Nicholson said.

Silver Ridge Elementary music teacher Kay Daling said reducing music education isn’t a good use of money.

Daling compared learning to a snowball, which rapidly gets bigger the further it rolls.

“That snow is their learning,” she said. “You’ll affect their learning all the way through 12th grade.”

 

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