Issaquah expects to retain same ratios and service levels next year
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.
“It’s definitely a sign of the times when I feel a huge sense of relief to hold stable in our funding,” said Issaquah superintendent Steve Rasmussen. “The state may not be upholding its constitutional duty to fully fund basic education, but at this point we are certainly thankful that our lawmakers did not cause further harm this session.”
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.
During the past three years of economic recession, the state has made nearly $11 billion in cuts, which translated into more than $16 million in reductions to the Issaquah School District. Facing another billion-dollar revenue gap, the Governor’s initial budget proposal in November cut another $2.2 million from Issaquah along with four school days.
On the heels of that proposal, the state Supreme Court ruled that the state is not meeting its constitutional obligation to amply fund public education. That decision and improved revenue forecasts were key factors for legislators during their subsequent budget prioritization process, according to local representatives.