It appears that the Eatonville School District will NOT have to cut staff in the coming school year in order to meet its budget. School superintendent Krestin Bahr said legislation — and hard work — helped the district deal with what had been projected as a $1.5 million budget shortfall.
In an April letter to school district staff, Bahr had said spending cuts would not be enough to reduce costs. But the Washington State Legislature passed a measure that will allow the Eatonville School District to collect its $2.50 levy in its entirety per calendar year— after January 1. Current state law limits collection to $1.50 until then.
She said Eatonville is one of the fortunate districts which the attorney general allowed collect it’s $2.50 per $1,000 special levy.
“I’m very grateful for our local legislators. We still are impacted, but we will be able to handle it through attrition,” said superintendent Bahr. “None of our certificated people lost their jobs. There were two positions where people have left and have gone to other positions.”
(Certificated refers to employees such as teachers and administrators who have state teaching certificates).
Bahr said state law changed so that half-time certificated staff would have to receive a full health insurance benefit package, which would have been expensive.
“That alone has prompted us not to have any part time employees,” Bahr said. “The way state health insurance has changed, we can’t afford to have part time employees.”
She said the school district has been able to deal with that gradually through attrition, and the district been eliminating positions over time.”
On the classified side, Bahr the district down on the number of FTE’s [full-time equivalent positions]. Classified employees are not required to have state teaching certificates, but the positions include teacher aides.
“The interesting thing to note about classified is that if we have students who come into district in the fall, and an Individual Education Plan says they need to have a paraprofessional working with them, we can hire them,” Bahr said. “It’s common to have classified positions go away (in the budget) but in the fall, we wind up hiring them. I would anticipate that in the fall will be flush. We love our staff. We have wonderful people."
Bahr said the school district has a new in-house child nutrition program and has found ways to save money operating it.
“We used to contract that out, but now we’ve brought it in house,” she said.
She said the Eatonville School Board has been very focused on retaining programs for children.
“We will continue to have our GRITS program, our STEM program and our arts program. Bahr said. “This year we have three preschool programs plus our Head Start so we had four. We will have five next year. They are full.”
Bahr added the budget retains Eatonville’s middle school and high school athletics.
“We are looking for a strong financial outlook, and we have a stable fund balance,” Bahr said. “We are using every dime for kids and not having to dip into our reserves, which is unusual. Districts around us are having to lay off numbers of people or dip into fund balance. Our F-195 shows that we are a fiscally stable school district.”
Eatonville School Board holds community budget review
You can view the details of the budget at a Community Budget Review Wednesday, July 17, from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m. in the District Office Board Room, located at 200 Lynch Street.
The budget includes $26,238,111 in the general fund, 2,125.199 for debt service, $430,250 for transportation, $382,000 for capital projects and the Associated Student Body fund is set at $660,247.
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