North Kitsap School District recently announced that reductions in force, fee increases and curriculum budget reductions are just a few of the tools that could be explored by the district as it attempts to balance a $3.5 million budget deficit.
According to district officials the cause for the deficit lies in recent legislative reductions to local levy authority, declining student enrollment and a number of unfunded mandates.
In a recent letter to North Kitsap community members NKSD Superintendent Laurynn Evans stated that while the “‘McCleary fix’ did increase state-level funding, the increase was offset because the legislature reduced our local levy authority. This means that overall, revenues are decreasing.”
The reduction of the district’s local levy authority has resulted in about $2.6 million in lost revenue and it seems that the district will be left tightening its belt as a result.
Evans also outlined a number of areas proposed for reductions in force or other adjustments including:
- Reducing district and building leadership and administration by two full-time positions
- Reducing Student Support Center staff by two full-time positions
- Closing the district’s centralized copy service center
- Creating transportation efficiencies
- Staffing to need and appropriate ratio, along with more careful analysis of classes to ensure staff efficiency while maintaining class size limits
- Freezing or slowing current spending and reducing hiring efforts
- Reducing curriculum budget by $200,000
Increases to school meal fees also appear to be on the table as well. In an email sent to administrators, the district’s director of Food and Nutrition Services, Daniel Blazer recommended: a 25 cent increase to $3.25 for elementary students’ lunch meal rates; a 25 cent increase to $2.25 for secondary school student breakfasts and a 25 cent increase to $3.50 for secondary school student lunches; and a 50 cent increase to $2.75 and $4.50 for adult breakfasts and lunches respectively.
A number of fee increases at the North Kitsap Community Swimming Pool have also been proposed as a means of balancing the budget as well.
In her April 25 letter, the superintendent was careful to note the sensitive nature of the work administrators must do in order to balance a budget.
“This work is difficult work and it is important work,” Evans said in the message to parents. “I remain grateful for the support of our community during this challenging season, and my door is open to you if you have questions or need more information.”