How will proposed cuts affect Bellevue schools?
December 23, 2010 · Updated 12:07 PM
With potentially massive budget cuts to K-12 education on the table, some students, parents and teachers wonder how the Bellevue School District will be affected.
When the Washington Legislature approved a plan to reduce the state’s $1.1 billion deficit, the education budget was cut severely, reducing the funding for Bellevue’s district by an estimated $1.1 million. If the state decides to further reduce the K-3 funding to the beginning of the fiscal year rather than February, this would result in an additional reduction of $630,000.
More proposed reductions may occur as the Jan. 10 regular legislative session approaches.
This fall, the U.S. Congress passed Edujobs legislation that provided Washington state with $208 million to create new jobs in K–12 education. The Legislature has now reduced the state’s K–12 budget by $208 million, eliminating those federal dollars intended for education spending.
While some districts have spent this money already, Bellevue placed these funds in reserve in the event the state decided to further reduce the K–12 budget; the amount held will simply be returned to the state.
Gov. Gregoire’s budget cut proposals include elimination of the K-4 class size reduction funds and the gifted student program. Other proposals include the suspension of various funding such as Initiative 728, which provides money to reduce class sizes, Initiative 732, which provides cost-of-living increases for teachers, planned increases in all-day kindergarten, annual bonuses for National Board certified teachers and annual step increases for teachers.
Jacque Coe, spokesperson for the district, said the city is fortunate to have the support of the Bellevue Schools Foundation, which raises supplemental funds for many important programs that support work in the classroom such as professional development.
In terms of the district’s specific concerns, Coe emphasized that it’s early to be worry, as the cuts are only proposed at this point; the legislature has not convened yet. The district will monitor the process and adjust accordingly to see if there are any other solutions legislators may be able to find, she said.