CKSD could lose $900,000 in state funds

News that the Central Kitsap School District could lose $900,000 as a result of state budget cuts was sobering to officials and volunteers who were still celebrating their landslide levy victory.

Gary Powell, CKSD’s assistant superintendent of business and operations, announced the Legislature’s proposed cuts at a Wednesday, March 13, school board meeting.

“The expectation is (the measure) will be sent to the governor by March 14, and we expect he’ll sign it by the 20th,” Powell said.

The measure was a compromise between House and Senate proposals, said LeeAnn Powers, the school board’s legislative representative.

The cuts mean teachers will have less time for classroom planning and elementary school class-size reductions will be put on hold, Powers and Powell explained.

In Central Kitsap, teachers will have one fewer learning improvement day (LID). The 180-day school calendar includes three LIDs, during which teachers plan curriculum based on state requirements.

The Legislature also has tweaked the way it determines funding based on teachers’ salaries, according to Janene Evans, business services director for the Central Kitsap School District.

“We are funded currently based on the average salaries of certificated staff in basic education and special ed,” Evans said. “Next year we’ll be funded based on the average salary of all certificated staff” including staff for specialized programs like English as a second language and gifted programs.

The move means less money from the state, Evans said. Districts will have the option of paying teachers for one fewer day per year.

Budget reduction estimates are based on a legislative conference committee proposal, Powell said.

However, the school district’s business office is waiting for the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction to reveal final numbers, Evans said.

“What (Powell) did was split the estimates down the middle. Until we actually know the exact impact on our district it’s an estimate so it won’t add up exactly,” Evans said.

Final state budget decisions were made after the Reporter went to press.

Although district officials were disappointed by the news, Evans said CKSD is likely to weather the budget reductions better than surrounding districts.

“We fared OK compared to some districts. Either way, $900,000 is $900,000, it’s money we don’t have for students.”

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