Blaine school board chair Charles Gibson recognized Rose Momsen, top, and Sally Roberts, left, for their work on behalf of the Point Roberts primary school at the board meeting on Monday, March 28
The Blaine school board took the first decisive step in 2011-2012 budget preparations by approving approximately $1.6 million in budget adjustments on Monday, April 25.
The reduced education program, a list of the most likely budget adjustments for the upcoming school year, passed 4-0 with board member Todd Berge abstaining because a family member could be affected by the budget reductions. The program includes possible cuts to faculty, custodial staff and library technician positions in addition to further reductions in office supplies and educational materials.
School board members praised the way district staff have handled the budget planning process. Board president Charles Gibson said he has been pleased with how much public input superintendent Ron Spanjer and other district officials have sought.
“I think this process has been very thorough,” Gibson said. “There [has been] a lot of transparency in this.”
Spanjer said the budget reductions in the program represent a worst-case scenario in state funding cuts. Spanjer explained the district will not know exactly how deep the cuts will go until the state legislature passes a final biennium budget. The state legislature entered special session on April 26 to continue budget negotiations.
Although the legislature’s final decisions are unknown, state law requires staff reduction notices must be sent to certificated employees (teachers and counselors) by May 15. Reductions in faculty or staff require board approval, hence the board’s vote on budget adjustments at the end of April.
Spanjer said 10 staff reduction notices will be sent by May 15, though four positions within that 10 will most likely be retained. The four positions are specialized and include a school counselor and special education resource teachers.
Spanjer added that notices to classified staff, which include custodians, food service workers and administrative assistants, will be sent by June 1.
The reduced education program the board approved was the same one distributed at the district’s April 18 community budget forum, Spanjer said. The two pages of comments gleaned from that meeting were consistent with suggestions district staff have been hearing throughout the budget planning process and did not warrant any changes to the list of budget adjustments, he explained.