Spokane Public Schools seeking your comments on program cuts - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

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Spokane Public Schools seeking your comments on program cuts

SPOKANE, Wash. - Based on new information, the state budget's impact on Spokane Public Schools now is expected to fall between $5 million and $9 million.

"The state continues to negotiate the figures so the range could change again, but what we do know is that every district will be impacted," said Superintendent Nancy Stowell.

You are invited to offer input on what programs to maintain by emailing Terren Roloff, Communications director, at terrenr@spokaneschools.org. You can also voice your opinion by leaving your thoughts at the bottom of the story or sending them to us via Twitter.

"The involvement of our community in public education has always been critical to the success of our school district," said Stowell. "Our community knows that we've had to spend levy dollars on unfunded state mandates for many years. Having already made cuts totaling $45 million over the past seven years makes the potential of another $5 to $9 million loss this year devastating."

The state provides approximately 70 percent of the budget for Washington schools. For Spokane Public Schools, that represents $211 million of next year's expected operating budget of $308 million.

The state can use federal stimulus dollars to offset the shortage in Spokane but most of that is designated for special education and Title 1 programs. Plus, guidance from the federal and state governments is unclear on how much and where it can be used, Stowell said.

The district's own enrollment decline due to lower birth rates and lack of space for new housing will also continue to impact the budget to the tune of $870,000 from the expected decline of 350 students next school year.

The final state budget is expected to be released April 26. Budget forums will be held May 12 at Chase Middle School and May 14 at Glover Middle School at 4 p.m. for staff and at 7 p.m. for the community.

"The situation dramatically points to the continued need for the state to fulfill its paramount duty to define and fully fund K-12 education as required by the state constitution," Stowell said.

- Spokane Public Schools 

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