Tonasket School Board passes 2009-2010 budget reductions

TONASKET – The Tonasket School Board passed the budget reductions for the 2009-2010 school year during their regular board meeting on Monday, May 4.

The reductions, titled the 2009-10 Modified Educational Program, total $460,209 and come from the projected final budget given to the district last week. Major reductions in the final budget are $470,619 from I-728 – Student Achievement, $591,052 from Local Effort Assistance, $28,793 from the math and science professional development, $12,190 from full day kindergarten and $1,719 from transportation.

The final budget didn’t only include reductions, however. $134,208 from the I-728 Student Achievement and $512,337 from the Local Effort Assistance will both be sent back to the district as backfill from the federal stimulus money. The district will also receive $120,561 as IDEA Stimulus Allocation and $122,903 as Title I Stimulus Allocation, but they have not yet been given the rules on how that money can be spent.

“Between now and through next year, you’re going to see new rules on how money can be spent,” Superintendent Randy Hauff told the board. “Also, the federal stimulus backfill only lasts two years, which is a concern. What happens after the two years?”

The Modified Educational Program is split into four budget saving goals. The first goal, which regards savings not related to personnel, will see the largest reductions in the I-728 funded professional development, which will lose an estimated $52,402. The building budgets of both the middle and high schools will receive 10 percent reductions which equal $4,258 and $13,051. Bus purchases will be reduced by $91,060 and the renovations of all portables in the district will be eliminated, saving $40,000.

Goal two regards reducing administrative costs. This will be accomplished when Arlene Johnson retires from Title I Administrator and Liz Stucker takes over those duties along with her position as SPED administrator.

Goal three regards reducing support services which will see a total reduction of $149,620. By reducing curriculum supplies and instructional materials, the district will save $32,800. The district will save $65,183 by reducing the elementary counseling staff by one full-time employee. Another large reduction within this goal is the elimination of the AmeriCorps program, which will save the district $35,000.

“I think there will be a net reduction in ‘C’ teams but it will be forced upon us,” Hauff said.

The final goal, to moderately increase class size to reflect state funding formulas will save the district $42,404 by eliminating a one-year contract for the math/language arts position at the middle and high schools.

“The way we have managed this has impacted class size the least,” Hauff said.

Before passing the Modified Educational Program, board Vice-Chair Jerry Asmussen said he believe this will help the board get down the budgeting process as well as they can. Board member Lloyd Caton agreed, stating that he hopes this program will put some people at ease.

“I appreciate how you kept the savings fairly even instead of hammering one area,” Catherine Stangland, board chair, said.