News

Next couple of months crunch time for CKSD

By PAUL BALCERAK

Staff writer

If the Central Kitsap School District’s budget planning process were an ’80s action movie, now would be the time when a video montage plays and gargantuan amounts of progress are made. In real life, that montage will play out during the next couple of months and the outcome may not seem so inspirational for some.

Money crunching was largely the talk at a Feb. 13 study session, which took place before the school board’s regularly scheduled, biweekly meeting.

Discussions surrounding a reconfiguration of the district’s music program, high school commencement ceremonies and a proposal for the creation of an auto maintenance class drew relatively heated exchanges.

Money issues were at the root of the music program and auto maintenance discussions.

Board members Christy Cathcart and Chris Stokke came out hard against a non-finalized suggestion generated by the music committee to eliminate zero period music classes. Stokke mentioned an inequity in the co-curricular budget — specifically that 80 percent of the budget is spent on athletics and the other 20 on activities — and suggested that a reapportionment might be in order.

“The money we spent on football last year went up (more than activities),” Stokke said.

Later, the board was split in half on whether or not to add an auto maintenance class to next year’s high school curriculum. Board members Bruce Richards and Lee Ann Powers came out in favor of the class, while Cathcart and Stokke were firmly opposed.

“I was appalled, I was embarassed to have this offered as a course in our district,” Cathcart said, adding that students throughout the district are struggling in math and reading and that funding might be better spent in those areas.

Board President Carl Johnson summed up the district’s financial issues earlier in the evening, with a shot at state legislators.

“Until there are some major changes in (the state’s) whole commitment to education, we’re just putting band-aids on things,” he said.

The tension spilled over into other areas, as well, including a discussion of whether or not to allow students who hadn’t met graduation requirements to walk during 2008 commencement ceremonies. This time, it was Stokke and Cathcart at opposing ends. Cathcart suggested a plan to differentiate true graduates from non-grads while Stokke suggested that, for this year only, everyone be allowed to walk.

The study session was the second in as many weeks and Superintendent Greg Lynch said the sessions will continue “pretty much every Wednesday between now and May,” when the board plans to offer a draft of the 2008-09 budget.

“I think that what we’ve done over the last few years is a tried and true process,” he said. “We’ve got to continue to push on.”

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