As I listened to people address the South Kitsap School District board prior to their vote on the RIF proposal, several asked that if this was a one-year problem and why not draw down the district’s $20 million reserve to solve it.
Unfortunately, the real reason is that this is not just a one-year problem. When the Legislature caved into the Washington Education Association, the districts who paid those huge pay raises to all with no way to sustain them, made the problem a local one. The SKSD payroll was at $87 million before the McCleary mandates.
It instantly went to $107 million and includes 5-percent pay raises for years to come. The new state insurance program costs will probably cost the district much more than the $700,000 they mentioned. What this means is that an additional $5.5 million out of your levy money goes just to cover these pay raises and goes up by 5 percent each year.
So, out of the $24 million in levy money for next year, $5.5 million goes just to fund these huge pay raises that you now are responsible for. I don’t get 5-percent pay raises each year and someone paying for more than half of my health care.
Many teachers now make over $100,000 and administrators now over $150,000. So, I support kids but I can’t see $5 million, and growing, out of my levy money going to fund the huge pay raises when I thought the money was “for the kids.”