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School Budget Dips Into Savings

Liz Jones
06/25/2008

The Seattle School Board is scheduled to take comments tonight (WED) on next year's budget. The proposal would allow the district to spend nearly 20 million dollars of its reserve funds. KUOW's Liz Jones reports.

THE SEATTLE SCHOOL DISTRICT EXPECTS LOWER ENROLLMENT NEXT YEAR. BUT STILL IT PLANS TO ADD MORE THAN A HUNDRED NEW STAFF JOBS.

THE MONEY FOR SOME OF THOSE JOBS WOULD COME FROM THE DISTRICT'S SAVINGS ACCOUNT. THAT'S JUST ONE OF THE ITEMS OUTLINED IN SUPERINTENDENT MARIA GOODLOE–JOHNSON'S BUDGET PROPOSAL.

SCHOOL BOARD MEMBER MICHAEL DEBELL IS CRITICAL OF THE STAFFING PLAN. HE SAYS THE ADDED COSTS NOW COULD LEAD TO MORE CUTS LATER.

DEBELL: "When we have low enrollment and fully staff the administrative part of a school, we end up with expensive schools. You know there's two ways to address this problem. One is to cut your costs and the other is to stabilize or grow your enrollment."

DEBELL SAYS THOSE ARE SOME OF THE TOUGH QUESTIONS THE DISTRICT STILL HAS TO FACE TO AVOID A FUTURE DEFICIT.

BOARD MEMBER STEVE SUNDQUIST AGREES. BUT HE SAYS THE RAINY–DAY SPENDING BUYS THE DISTRICT SOME TIME.

SUNDQUIST: "If the revenue situation doesn't change going forward in any marked way, then clearly we're going to have to make some decisions to lower of level of operating costs. Anything would be open for consideration at that point."

SUNDQUIST SAYS THAT COULD INCLUDE CUTS TO STUDENT SERVICES OR OPERATING EXPENSES. OTHERWISE, HE SAYS THE DISTRICT FACES A 20 MILLION–DOLLAR DEFICIT NEXT YEAR.

SOME HOPE THE STATE LEGISLATURE WILL APPROVE FUNDS TO FILL THAT GAP.

THE BOARD PLANS TO VOTE ON THE PROPOSAL IN TWO WEEKS. LIZ JONES, KUOW NEWS.

℗ Copyright 2008, KUOW News

07.17.18

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