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Dear Issaquah School District Community,
What a difference two weeks and a new legislative budget can make. In response to enrollment declines, ensuring a sufficient budget reserve, and unexpected additional costs associated with the pandemic, CFO Jake Kuper presented a conservative 2021-22 Program/Service Reduction plan to the School Board on April 14. This plan outlined up to $22 million in cuts to our operations budget.
With the Governor’s signature finalizing the state budget this week, we are happy to share that the outlook for the District’s budget will be considerably better than the scenario that we planned for. This new state budget will allow us to restore most of our program/service reductions. While we do not have all the details worked out at this time, we are optimistic about our ability to restore most counseling positions, PBSES coaches and some additional program cuts as well. This new state budget will also allow us to maintain a fiscally responsible fund balance reserve as we anticipate another year with some pandemic-driven uncertainty.
We are still in a period of enrollment decline, which will require us to right-size our staffing. The hope is that as our region gets a better handle on the pandemic, we will be able to return to full-time in-person teaching and learning next year as the Board outlined with the adoption of Resolution 1164 and that this will result in a return of many of our families, increasing our enrollment and allowing us to recall more staff.
Facing significant revenue decreases, our objective is to preserve a balanced, rigorous educational experience for students. Despite the cuts, our schools are still rich with two unquantifiable resources: excellent staff and community support. We especially want to thank all of the legislators who represent parts of the ISD for their support in advocating for our District funding. Come September, we are hopeful that our schools will be open five days a week and ready to embark on a quality year of learning.