Kent Schools warn of ‘perfect storm’ wrecking school budgets

Mar 20, 2023, 1:26 PM | Updated: 3:41 pm

teaching online budgets...

(Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

(Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

The Kent School District is warning parents that the district’s finances will be at risk in the next couple of years, with reports that they are joining a growing list of districts in the region looking to tighten their budget.

The district said they currently have enough funds due to Congressional money provided during the pandemic, but that money runs out in 2024.

Bellevue School Board voted in favor of closing two schools

The funds have been used to make up for lost funds due to declining enrollment since 2018. The district points to declining enrollment, inflation, and a lack of what it describes as “full funding” from the state. The State’s education budget is projected to drop from 51% to 43% of the overall state budget.

Presentations have been given at Kent School Board work sessions and meetings regarding the district’s financial outlook for the next several years.

Kent isn’t the first school district to project financial trouble on the horizon — Everett, Bellevue, and Seattle Public Schools have all reported budget shortfalls and announced plans like job cuts or school consolidation.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Chris Reykdal has called the current budget situation for Washington school districts a “perfect storm.”

SPS is currently facing a budgetary shortfall of $131 million as student enrollment has continued to drop since the 2019-2020 school year. The Seattle Public Schools Board (SPS) released information from their budgeting meeting at the end of January in which they detailed a plan to cut costs by shutting down some schools.

The Bellevue School Board voted on a final decision last week on how to move forward with their plans to consolidate two elementary schools in the district to save money. The district also approved additional operational cuts to offset the $31 million dollar shortfall. Transition planning will now begin in preparation for fall 2023.

The district says it’s already planning on actions it can take starting next year – including layoffs, staff reallocation, or leaving vacant positions unfilled.

Sam Campbell contributed to this report

MyNorthwest News

Photo: The Kent refugee camp on June 3, 2024....

Sam Campbell

‘Food is finished:’ Refugees in Kent call for help as health, food struggles remain

About 170 asylum-seeking refugees living at a camp in Kent have been moved into temporary housing over the course of a week.

34 minutes ago

Image: A sign for a Big Lots store can be seen from outside the location June 7, 2024 in Hercules, ...

Steve Coogan

Big Lots to close 12 stores in Washington, about 140 nationwide

Discount retailer Big plans to close over 140 stores nationwide, including 12 out of 26 locations in the state of Washington.

1 hour ago

Image: Matt Driscoll, a columnist for The News Tribune, died suddenly at the age of 43 in July 2024...

Bill Kaczaraba

Columnist Matt Driscoll, the face of ‘Tacoma and Pierce County,’ dies at 43

Matt Driscoll, a fixture in the Tacoma newspaper community, has died. A columnist and opinion editor for the Tacoma News Tribune (TNT), Driscoll was 43 years old. “The humor, the witty banter, and wry observations are what brought us together,” Matt Driscoll’s wife Jennifer Driscoll told The Tacoma News Tribune. “We really clicked in that […]

3 hours ago

Tacoma woman refused TB treatment...

Julia Dallas

Tacoma woman who refused tuberculosis treatment now healthy: ‘She’s cured!’

A Tacoma woman who refused TB treatment for months last year is now healthy. Health officials announced she is officially "cured."

4 hours ago

Commercial truck narrowly misses oncoming traffic in Bellevue....

Bill Kaczaraba

Watch: Wild ride from commercial truck driver leaves Bellevue drivers holding their breath

It was a close call at Main Street and 112 Street Northeast in Bellevue Tuesday morning, leaving Bellevue drivers feeling lucky they were not hit.

5 hours ago

lea hill shooting...

Luke Duecy

1 injured as shooting erupts in Auburn’s Lea Hill neighborhood; arrest made

The Auburn Police Department is investigating a shooting early Tuesday in the city's Lea Hill neighborhood that left one woman injured.

8 hours ago

Kent Schools warn of ‘perfect storm’ wrecking school budgets