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Arlington School Board gets budget update

Students at Eagle Creek stream out of the school gymnasium in February. Larger classrooms in some grades may be a product of less projected state and federal revenue for the Arlington School District. - File Photo
Students at Eagle Creek stream out of the school gymnasium in February. Larger classrooms in some grades may be a product of less projected state and federal revenue for the Arlington School District.
— image credit: File Photo

ARLINGTON — School officials recently shed a little more light on what a possible $1.6 million to $1.8 million reduction to the district budget might look like next year.

During an April 26 meeting, Deb Borgens, executive director of financial services, showed School Board members where the most significant state and federal revenue reductions will be during the 2010-11 school year.

Revenue for teaching, classified, administrative and other school staffing will see the biggest drop for the district.

Officials are anticipating about an $800,000 reduction in funding for positions, which means that district officials will again be looking at layoffs.

Washington state school districts are required to notify certificated staff members of layoffs, or RIFs, by May 15.

According to a district budget timeline, those notices are scheduled to go out to staff members by May 5 or 6, with formal Board approval coming during the May 10 meeting.

That timeline also states that administrators are hoping to let classified staff know about layoffs by June 11. The Board could approve those layoffs on June 14.

The other large projected drop in district revenue will be from the state Legislature choosing to eliminate I-728 funding for school districts. State revenue from I-728 typically helped districts reduce class sizes and provided funds to assist teacher in professional development.

The Arlington School District received $690,508 from I-728 for the 2009-10 school year.

Other substantial projected revenue shortfalls include about a $220,000 reduction for special education and a $200,000 reduction for transportation.

To counter those smaller revenue, the district is projecting it will receive about $350,000 more in levy dollars, about $200,000 more in LEA funds.

Also affecting the district’s budget will be the state’s new funding ration for fourth-grade teachers.

The state paid for 53.2 full-time equivalent teachers for every 1,000 students during the 2009-10 school year. Next year, that formula decreases to 47.42 FTE teachers per 1,000 students, meaning that classroom sizes will likely increase.

“That’s 2.4 teachers less than last year for us,” Borgens told the School Board.

Superintendent Kris McDuffy said that she does not yet know how many total staff members the district will have to let go or reduce.

During the meeting, the School Board for the second consecutive year approved Resolution 10-02, which formally prepares the district for a general fund budget reduction.

“It looks like we’ll have another couple of years like this,” McDuffy said. “It’s not looking like it’s going to get better anytime soon. You might be seeing this resolution the next few years, too.”

The School Board will be holding its budget hearing on July 12, and is expected to approve the 2010-11 budget on Aug. 9.

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