Small school districts brace for big cuts - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Small school districts brace for big cuts

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SPOKANE, Wash. - As the largest school districts in the State brace for budget cuts and job losses, administrators in smaller districts say cuts in their schools could be drastic and impact the student experience even more.

The state allocates money to districts based on enrollment and administrators in small districts say their smaller budgets are less flexible.

"In a school district this size where I have one math teacher, one science teacher and one English teacher, how do you cut?" asked Dr. Thomas Crowley, superintendent in Rosalia, about 40 miles south of Spokane.

Crowley said his district is about to cut its art teacher, choir program and school counselor. Hours at the library will be restricted to a half day unless volunteers can help students during other times. The district's only 5th grade teacher will also lose his job. Crowley says he will be replaced by a teacher in middle school where there are several teachers for each subject.

"It doesn't feel good at all," he said. "This is where I don't sleep at night hardly any more at all."

Crowley called the cuts unprecedented in his 13 years as an administrator in small towns. The superintendent says several people have left his town to find work in larger cities because of the economic downturn-a move that has dropped his enrollment and will affect his budget even more.

"When the economy's in the toilet like it is now, people can't get work in little rural communities like Rosalia," he said

Crowley says he hopes to restore the cut programs when he gets more money, but said things could get worse before they get better.

"We need to get the economy turned around and rather rapidly or else the prognosis is not good," he said.

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