April 20 budget update
After months of wrangling and two special sessions, the Washington Legislature last week passed a budget proposal that makes no significant cuts to education and will likely allow the Issaquah School District to maintain the same teacher ratios and service levels next school year
. Governor Gregoire is expected to sign the supplemental budget soon. The district’s Business Office is still reconciling next year’s preliminary budget based on the recent legislative agreement and will present more information to the school board at its business meeting on April 25.
The Issaquah School District is in the midst of its 2012-2013 budget planning process. The good news is that—unlike many districts statewide that have had to cut millions of dollars from their budgets in recent years even before the state's major reductions to education funding—we have remained financially solvent. This is the result of:
If the District next year were to be funded by the state at current levels, we would expect to make minor adjustments to operations and service levels to balance the 2012-2013 budget. However, Washington is again facing a significant budget deficit of almost $2 billion. As legislators work in the next several months to reduce spending across departments and programs, public education will surely be impacted. This will compound the $16-million in revenue cuts that the state has made to the Issaquah School District the last three school years.
We expect the coming reductions from the state to be "categorical," meaning direct funding sources for specific purposes will be eliminated or significantly reduced. In order to protect students' quality educational experience as much as possible, the District has been and will continue to look for operational savings and efficiencies; however, because our program and service levels are already so lean, it is likely that we will need to absorb significant revenue reductions by trimming those areas that lose direct categorical funding from the state.
For the next several months, we will closely monitor the legislative session, and the District will continue to provide information to both lawmakers as they create the state budget and to our local community advocates who are asking legislators to make public education a priority.
In the meantime, we invite community and staff members to send us ideas and suggestions for stretching our operational dollars. Creative thinking is always welcome-whether in a budget-cutting situation or otherwise, we strive to operate smartly and preserve as much funding as possible for the classroom. Please e-mail us your ideas. We might not be able to respond to each suggestion individually, but all will be captured and considered by administrators.
Critical dates affecting budget planning
Check back for exact dates as the legislative session progresses
- November 22, 2011: Governor releases preliminary state budget (proposed $2.2 million cut to ISD).
- November 28-December 15, 2011: Legislature holds special session to address revenue gap in the current year's budget (ultimately, budget decisions pushed forward to regular session).
- January- March 2012: Superintendent Steve Rasmussen meets with staff members at all buildings for a "state of the state" budget discussion.
- January 9, 2012: State Legislature convenes for regular session.
- February 9, 2012: Issaquah School Board adopts Budget Guidelines.
- February 16, 2012: The Economic and Revenue Forecast Council releases a new revenue forecast for the state, with a $45 million improved outlook since November.
- February 21, 2012: House Ways and Means Committee releases its proposed budget. (No significant impact to ISD for 2012-13).
- February 28, 2012: Senate Ways and Means Committee Chair releases his proposed budget. (No significant impact to ISD for 2012-13).
- March/April 2012: Superintendent presents budget philosophy for 2012-13 to School Board.
- March 2012: State Economic and Revenue Forecast Council produces new economic forecast.
- TBD: House and Senate release compromise budget.
- March 8, 2012: Final day of 2012 legislative session.
- April 25, 2012: Per District contract, the School Board must notify the Issaquah Education Association by the last board meeting in April if it anticipates a Reduction in Force (RIF). The School Board must establish the level of seniority required to guarantee a certificated staff member's position for the following school year.
- May 15, 2012: By state law, school districts must issue Reduction in Force (RIF) notices to certificated staff members who may not have a contract the following year.
- June-August 2012: Five-member Financial Advisory Core Team (FACT) meets to review budget development. Team includes representatives from the School Board, teachers association, classified associations, and PTSA.
- June/July 2012: District completes budget.
- August 8, 2012: School Board holds a public hearing on the proposed 2012-2013 District budget.
- August 22, 2012: School Board adopts 2012-2013 budget (state law mandates the budget be complete by August 31).