Poulsbo & Beyond

An on-going conversation focused on the community of Poulsbo, fueled by local resident Rich Jacobson.
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State Budget May Force CKSD to Get Blood from a Turnip

March 7th, 2010 by Rich Jacobson

Prior to the vote on the recent CK Support School Levy, there was quite a stir of rather heated debate occurring here on the Kitsap Sun website regarding the respective merits of voting yea or nay.WA-State-Legislators-Need-to-Cut-Other-Expenses-than-Education

Many of those commenting faulted WA State officials for not properly funding local public education. Still others placed the blame on district superintendents, staff, and school boards for not exercising prudent fiscal responsibility.

Well, if you weren’t aware, both the Senate and the House released their budget proposals last Tuesday, and next week, will negotiate a finalized budget. The negative impact that the extreme reductions proposed in this budget draft could have at the local level would be catastrophic.

Just in case you want to see what impact the proposed budget would have, please click here to view the School Funding Facts II, or click here to view the supporting documentation.

As our state legislators hash out the last minute details of the budget, the good folks down at Central Kitsap School District are continuing their efforts in developing CKSD budget options for school year 2010-11. Their proactive and fiscally conservative approach over the last several years has allowed them to anticipate and avoid the drastic large-scale layoffs faced last spring by other districts throughout the state and to keep cuts from impacting the classroom.

However, ultimately, the solvency of CKSD’s financial future rests with our elected legislators and the governor.  Our district financial personnel have already made all the reductions they can without taking any severe measures. Unfortunately, our district has little additional financial resources available to effectively absorb the multi-million dollar reductions contained in the current budget proposals.

AOlympia-Show-Us-The-Moneynyone who is familiar with our Superintendent, Greg Lynch, Executive Director David McVicker, and the hard working members of our school board, knows how seriously they all take their responsibilities and stewardship of district finances. These are all people who genuinely care about the quality of education our kids receive, and seek to equip our teachers and school staff with all the resources necessary to maintain that result.

I am extremely grateful to the voters of Central Kitsap who approved the recent levy renewal. The current economic times are tough on all of us and it’s not easy to commit even more of our hard earned dollars to a cause that is supposed to be fully funded by State government.

Let’s hope that the folks in Olympia find some other way to cover the budget shortfalls than to further impede our school district’s ability to ensure educational excellence.

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One Response to “State Budget May Force CKSD to Get Blood from a Turnip”

  1. Colleen Smidt Says:

    Rich, after this year none of the school districts in this county have any low hanging fruit or easy, fluffy items left to cut. The levy does not even begin to compensate anymore and our elected officials will literally break the back of education with any future cuts.

    I am glad that you are happy with CKSD and its management. Not the case in Bremerton. The Bremerton School Board has called a special meeting this week with the District Finance Committee which includes staff and citizens. The committee this year has refused to be relegated to a position of only being a superficial, window dressing, lip service entity like it has been for the past several years. We have started to really dig into the 83% of the school district budget that goes to salaries and benefits many of which are not tied to mandates or to direct improvement in the classrooms. We have started researching and questioning why so many certificated staff members are being paid certificated staff salaries without ever stepping foot in a classroom to teach. We have started questioning the union contracts and how they can be re-negotiated. We have started to look at operational effency in individual administrative positions and overall departments. For all of our time, research and trouble we, the committee members, are now being told that this is not what we should be doing or questioning. That we should only be making recommendations on what we “believe” we like or don’t like about current district programs or operations. That our in depth questioning is causing people in the district to fear for their jobs because the system is so “insider” corrupt and our type of questioning only shines a light on that.

    The district invited us, as citizens, to come to the table and sit with staff to work out budget recommendations. That is exactly what we are doing. To us as a committee that means making recommendations for spending cuts, possible increases in revenue and pointing out potentials for restructuring of current operations. The meeting on Thursday the 11th (currently scheduled for 4pm which makes it difficult for the citizens employed in the private sector to attend but staff members have no such limitations) between the School Board and the Finance Committee will fundamentally define once a for all if we are to be allowed as citizens and staff to operate as a true Finance Committee and obtain the detailed information we need to continue and complete the hard substantive work we are currently doing or if the rug will be pulled out from under us and we will be relegated to only being fluffy, superficial, window dressing and lip service once again. The District and the School Board tell us our input is “critical” which is a direct quote from the meeting minutes of 2-4-10, so then let us as a Finance Committee work on offering solutions and recommendations on the “critical” issues without roadblocks, presecution, limitations or restrictions.

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Everyday CK is an ongoing conversation focused on the community of Central Kitsap, fueled by local resident Rich Jacobson.