Bainbridge School District faces nearly $1 million in cuts

With more than $850,000 in cuts projected for the 2010-2011 budget, the Bainbridge Island School District put a resolution of fiscal emergency to its School Board Thursday night.

“The fiscal emergency is a declaration that we are going to have some fairly significant reductions in our operating budget... We’re still going to have to reduce some positions,” Supt. Faith Chapel said.

The district has eliminated $3.6 million of its $36.5 million annual budget over the last two years. The $850,000 reduction this year would result in a 10 percent budget cut between 2009-2011. Of the district’s 2009-2010 budget, 64 percent came from state funds.

The district will not receive the final funding numbers from the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction until late May, after the May 15 Reduction-in-Force deadline.

“They’re really working off of actuals whereas ours is a little rougher estimate,” Chapel said. “What we get back from OSPI, there’s sometimes a discrepancy between those two. We’re still going to be operating off of estimates when we have to do our RIF estimate.”

The $850,000 cut is less than half of the district’s initial estimate.

“It certainly could have been worse,” Chapel said. “If we had the original Senate version, we probably would be cutting – our worst-case scenario – $1.8 million.”

Last April, facing $2.1 million in cuts, the board approved a fiscal emergency resolution before issuing 17 reduction-in-force notices in May.

“If you don’t identify what your possible cuts are by the 15th of May, you can’t make additional cuts after that,” Chapel said.

Positions can be called back after the final budget takes shape if there is funding, she said.

Combined with leaves of absence, retirements and resignations, the Save our Teachers campaign raised $260,000 for the district last year, saving all but one teaching position.

The District Budget Advisory Committee, which has not met this month because of the lack of information from the state, convenes Tuesday.

The district will present its “anticipated, worst-case scenario reductions for certificated staff” at the April 26 school board meeting, Chapel said.

Of the school district’s 2009-2010 general fund, 86 percent of expenditures are on staff salaries and benefits.

Since 2006, the district’s state funding has dropped from 70.2 percent to 64 percent of the budget, increasing the district’s dependence on local dollars.

The final budget will be approved this summer. The 2009-2010 budget was approved by the board last August.

By the numbers

With the projected $850,000 cut to the 2010-2011 budget, the school district will have cut nearly 12 percent of its $36.5 million budget over three years.

State funding has decreased from 70.2 percent to 64 percent of the district budget since 2006.

Budget cuts:

2008-2009: $1.5 million

2009-2010: $2.1 million

2010-2011: $850,000

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