Arlington School District wants ideas on dealing with budget shortfall

ARLINGTON — The school board wants to keep people in the Arlington School District informed about how the district is going to deal with a projected $2.5 million funding shortfall.

Last year, the district had to deal with a $3.8 million budget shortfall, district spokeswoman Misti Gilman said. While the anticipated shortfall is less than last year, she said, “reductions will still be difficult and painful.”

Arlington School District’s staff of 582 serves about 5,436 students at 10 schools. The projected district enrollment for next school year is 5,100 students. The district’s general fund budget for the current school year is nearly $46 million.

Enrollment decline, federal and state funding reductions, excess capacity in the schools, upcoming employee contract renewals and school repairs are among the challenges as district administration officials and the school board work to develop the budget for the 2010-11 school year, Gilman said.

So far, no decisions have been made regarding any proposed reductions, but district officials are taking a look at every line item on the budget and are looking to increase efficiency, she said. A community forum to talk about the budget is being planned.

The Legislature is scheduled to adjourn in mid-March, and the district should know by then what kind of funding to expect from the state. The school board plans to adopt a final 2010-11 budget in August.

“The schools belong to our community,” Arlington schools Superintendent Kristine McDuffy said. “Stewardship and continuous improvement are two of our four focus areas. We want our community to stay informed and engaged and assist with recommendations.”

School district residents can find a budget update on the district’s Web page,

People also can sign up for e-mail updates at

More information is available by contacting Gilman at or 360-618-6207.

Gale Fiege: 425-339-3427,

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