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Re-elect Cindy Carter Grant County Commissioner

School budget outlines cuts in jobs, programs

 


The Grand Coulee Dam School District passed its budget for the 2017-18 school year at its meeting Monday night.

There wasn’t a lot of fanfare, as members of the board struggled with the host of cuts facing the district this next year.

Even then, the budget was somewhat shaky as Debbie Cook, North Central Educational Service District’s person handling finances for the district, said late legislative action created a lot of “ifs” about revenues from the state.

The budget, $11,036,901, was almost in balance. The district plans on savings from cuts and on using money from its reserve fund to balance revenue and expenses.

Superintendent Paul Turner summarized the budget this way: cuts in personnel, programs, watching the dollars next year, and using about $200,000 from the district’s reserve fund. Collectively, those measures will provide enough money to offset the expected deficit.

It’s official now, major cuts in personnel, which has raised the question: How is this going to work?

Both assistant principals, Charlie Pierce and Margo Piver, will be cut to halftime, and then assume a number of extra duties to fill out their days.

Pierce will be a halftime high school assistant principal, be director of the district’s vocational education program, plus teach a couple of Voc-Tech classes.

Piver will be a halftime assistant principal in the elementary school and also assume the duties of athletic director.

The district claims savings of $30,000 and $40,000 in these adjustments.

Superintendent Paul Turner told the board that he would review the vice principal roles next spring and “hopefully make assistant principal duties permanent.”

Other cuts and adjustments include termination of the district’s high school alternative learning program, for a savings of $140,000; cutting two paraprofessionals, for a savings of $70,000; not replacing the district’s registrar, for a savings of $49,000; and eliminating one period of weight training, for $9,000.

There were a number of minor adjustments for some additional savings.

The district will pass through a 2.3-percent salary increase for all personnel paid for by the state. The district will have to pick up the 2.3 percent for those jobs not funded by the state, as well as $40 a month for health benefits for those not funded by the state.

The revenue picture, somewhat muddied at the state level because of late decisions from the Legislature, created a lot of “ifs” for the district.

Turner told the board that savings throughout the year and some money from the district’s reserve fund will bring the deficit within management.

The district learned earlier this year that it faced a potential $745,000 deficit this next school year.

That caused the stream of cuts and some anxiety about what the state was going to do.

The ESD’s Cook made her final presentation to the board Monday night as she revealed a complicated budget, still filled with question marks.

She has accepted a position as business manager of the Ephrata School District. She will be replaced by ESD’s Sally Ryan, who will provide financial services and be in the local district two days a week.

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