Everett School District to cut about $2.6 million

  • Sarah Koenig<br>Enterprise writer
  • Monday, March 3, 2008 11:34am

The Everett School District plans to cut about $2.6 million from its 2006-07 general fund budget.

That means some administrative, coaching and assistant principal positions will be cut, and less money will be spent on textbooks and classroom supplies, among other changes.

District officials anticipate spending about $161.4 million next year.

The budget will be presented to the Everett School Board for final adoption July 11. At the same meeting, a public hearing will be held.

“I would say one of our objectives is to keep the impact of any reductions away from our classroom,” said Jeff Moore, the district’s director of finance.

District officials have found ways to increase efficiencies and use technology to meet that goal, he said.

“I believe we met our objective of avoiding impact to the classroom,” he said.

Below is a summary of the cuts. Dollar amounts weren’t yet calculated at the Enterprise deadline.

• Schools will receive less money for their building budgets, but the reductions are minor, Moore said. The building budgets pay for science lab materials, paper, supplies, general building operations, copy machines, subscriptions, classroom materials and more.

“Part of (the reason for the cut) is in recent years we’ve been able to replace things which used to be (paid for) out of building budgets with technology,” Moore said.

• The assistant bowling coaches at Jackson, Cascade and Everett High Schools will be cut, as will the assistant girls swim coaches at those schools.

Moore said the number of students enrolled in those sports programs was too low to warrent the positions.

The district is adding two diving assistant coaches who will work at the three high schools.

In addition, cheer coaches, who are usually paid a stipend for fall, winter and spring, will now only receive fall and winter stipends.

• The district is cutting positions in central administration, including health services, finance, human resources and information systems, as well as maintenance, grounds and custodial services. The district has no figure yet on the number of positions to be cut.

“Many of those (cuts) we’re able to accomplish through attrition,” Moore said.

In addition, about $100,000 is being saved at the offices through operational efficiencies, Moore said.

“Finding more efficiencies allows you to reduce that (spending) without having the impact of losing services,” he said.

• Three assistant principal positions have been cut.

Garfield and Madison Elementary Schools, which had assistant principals this year, won’t have them next year, said Karst Brandsma, associate superintendent for instruction. One of the positions was cut through attrition.

The assistant principal position at Sequoia High School, an alternative school in the district, also is being cut.

• The district will spend less on textbooks this year compared to the past few years.

“We have done numerous textbook adoptions in the last few years,” Moore said.

The district is now in maintenance mode and can spend less on training teachers for new curriculums, Moore said, which will save money compared to recent years.

• The district’s bus service may change.

“Our transportation director has been able to look at some of the routing and start and end times and (was) able to make some operational efficiencies to reduce transportation costs,” Moore said. “There were some similar efficiencies in the food services department, (which) have allowed us to reduce some expenditures.”

There are various reasons why the district has to make cuts this year.

“What might be difficult for people to understand is we just passed this levy, but it allows school districts to maintain what they already have,” said Mary Waggoner, communications director for the district. “But when costs increase, (when) gas and fuel and insurance and inflation factor in, the costs go up.”

In addition, state funding isn’t keeping up with district costs, Waggoner said.

“You will hear, on the one hand, that the state is paying more for education, and it is,” Waggoner said. “They send us more actual dollars, but a smaller percent of the budget comes from the state each year.”

For example, the state has increased its Initiative 728 funding, bringing an extra $1.2 million into the district’s coffers. I-728, a voter-approved initiative, funds smaller class sizes, teacher training and more.

The district has also been hit by cost of living adjustments for teachers that the state isn’t adequately funding, Moore said.

“All school districts have portions of salaries not funded by the state,” he said.

District officials can’t foresee what will happen next year in the Legislature, but the district will likely have to make more cuts next year, Moore said.

“Short of some (unforeseen) dynamic, we would anticipate future reductions as well,” Moore said.

Talk to us