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Sports, activities would be first to go if levy fails

In lean times, when budget cuts are unavoidable, school administrators aim to trim where student learning is least impacted.

So if the March 12 school replacement levy fails, the first things to go likely would be academic competition teams, sports teams and after-school clubs.

“They would definitely be cut because they are not funded by state resources — not that we would want to do that,” said Gary Powell, assistant superintendent of business and operations for the Central Kitsap School District.

The district also might consider scaling back bus service and eliminating the $250,000 per year set aside to replace aging buses.

“The state only funds 70 percent of transportation costs, so we would look for ways to economize and reduce the number of routes,” Powell said.

Preventative maintenance — such as cleaning gutters and maintaining operating equipment — also could suffer, he added.

The school board would have the final say on potential cuts, but the district’s finance committee, school administration and staffers would also play a role, Powell said.

A levy failure also would affect capital projects, because the district would lose $7 million in federal heavy impact aid, according to Powell.

By the end of the 2001-2002 budget year, the district will have $3.6 million in reserves, but Powell said he would recommend against using the money to shore up a budget gap. It would only be a temporary fix, he said, and would leave the school without resources to handle emergencies.

CKSD also is undoubtedly facing cuts in state funding, said district spokeswoman Jeanie Schulze. The Legislature faces a $1.6 billion state budget shortfall and reportedly was considering freezing levy equalization funds.

Local levy dollars comprise 10.2 percent of the Central Kitsap School District budget — presently $10 million — but significantly more money is tied up in the measure’s passage. Each local levy dollar qualifies CKSD for $1.10 in additional state and federal funding.

Where does it go?

Following is a breakdown of what local levy revenues fund:

• 80 percent goes toward school and classroom support. This includes personnel, like special education teachers, physical education teachers and librarians; resources, like books and computers; and school building support, like custodians.

• 10 percent goes toward student activities, such as after-school clubs, sports and academic teams.

• Nine percent goes toward transportation beyond what the state funds, and to replace aging buses.

• One percent goes toward after-hours use of community buildings, facilities and fields by the community.

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