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2021-22 Program & Service Reduction Plan

Posted on April 15, 2021

Dear Issaquah School District Community,

As you all know, the COVID-19 pandemic has had major impacts on every staff member, parent and student, and on every part of our school system. This includes our District’s finances.

We have had substantial declines in student enrollment during this school year, and we project further enrollment declines for the coming year. In the 2019-20 year, we had an enrollment of 20,234 students. Our current enrollment is 19,054. Next year we project an enrollment of 18,582. This represents an enrollment decline of about 8.1 percent in two years.

Because school districts receive funding from the state on a per-student basis, this means a reduction in our district’s operating budget. We have also faced unexpected and additional costs of dealing with the pandemic. We have been able to manage these unexpected costs and reductions this year by using budget reserves held over from previous years, but those reserves have been and will continue to be diminished.

Last night, the Issaquah School Board took action on a 2021-22 Program/Service Reduction plan that includes $22 million in cuts. These reductions allow for us to remain financially solvent in a conservative scenario, in which the State does not provide us significant additional funding.

The new financial plan includes reductions in every facet of our system from the business office, to our paraeducators, to building administrators. In conjunction with these widespread reductions the plan sets a Reduction in Force threshold, or RIF line, at which we can guarantee 2021-2022 teacher employment contracts. The calculation of the RIF line was determined by the need to balance our budget while maintaining the fiscal stability of the District and yet making allowances for hard to fill endorsement areas.

We are genuinely saddened by the prospect of reducing our services to students and staff, but remain optimistic about our district and community’s future. We believe that as we continue to focus on a full return to in-person learning for the fall and as more of our citizens become fully immunized against COVID-19 we will see an increase in our enrollment. An increase in enrollment will also increase our revenues allowing us to restore some of these painful reductions over time.

For more detailed information on our Program/Services Reduction Plan please see the attached items on our School Board meeting agenda from April 14, 2021.

You can also view the meeting on our YouTube channel in order to hear the presentation by CFO Kuper, Superintendent Thiele and a robust board discussion.