The Herald of Everett, Washington
HeraldNet on Facebook HeraldNet on Twitter HeraldNet RSS feeds HeraldNet Pinterest HeraldNet Google Plus HeraldNet Youtube
HeraldNet Newsletters  Newsletters: Sign up | Manage  Green editions icon Green editions
Jerry Cornfield | jcornfield@heraldnet.com
Published: Tuesday, May 6, 2008, 6:01 p.m.

Public schools facing “bad year” with budgets

A story in today's edition provides a clear view of the economic challenges facing school districts in Snohomish County.

What’s occuring in Snohomish County is not unique. Shortages of cash plague many if not most of the state 295 school districts.

“This is going to be a bad year,” Jennifer Priddy, the state’s assistant superintendent for K-12 finance, told lawmakers and educators on the Basic Education Finance Joint Task Force this afternoon.
Priddy provided a grim report on the fiscal health of school districts. She said layoffs, school closures, fewer electives, higher fees for extracurricular activities and reduced bussing options are under discussion in the biggest and smallest districts.

She told me “it feels like the problem is much deeper and more widespread this year.”

The problem is state funding is covering less and less of the districts’ day-to-day expenses, she reported.

Today’s discussion made clear voter-approved operation and maintenance levies pay for unexpected expenses like rising fuel costs. Those dollars also go to salaries of teachers and staff hired to meet legislative directives such as all-day kindergarten and intensive academic instruction to improve student performance.

Priddy’s report concluded that the districts are too reliant on local funding.

Whether school districts will continue to shoulder this big load is what the task force is wrestling with this year. Its mission is to devise a new and improved method of spreading tax dollars into public education.

At one point in the meeting Dan Grimm, chairman of the task force, asked panelists what amount of money they thought education leaders would say is the districts’ share of basic education costs.

“Zero,” replied Rep. Ross Hunter.


Sign up for HeraldNet headlines Newsletter
See sample | Privacy policy

Most recent The Petri Dish posts

Share your comments: Log in using your HeraldNet account or your Facebook, Twitter or Disqus profile. Comments that violate the rules are subject to removal. Please see our terms of use. Please note that you must verify your email address for your comments to appear.

You are logged in using your HeraldNet ID. Click here to update your profile. | Log out.

Our new comment system is not supported in IE 7. Please upgrade your browser here.

comments powered by Disqus
digital subscription promo

Subscribe now

Unlimited digital access starting at 99 cents, or included with any print subscription.

loading...
» More local news