MYNORTHWEST NEWS

How will the Edmonds School Board cover a $10M shortfall?

Mar 19, 2024, 3:52 PM | Updated: Mar 20, 2024, 11:30 am

Photo: A $100 bill...

Edmonds School Board is holding a meeting Tuesday night to discuss how it plans to scale back over $10 million. (File photo: Matt Slocum, AP)

(File photo: Matt Slocum, AP)

The Edmonds School Board held a meeting Tuesday night to discuss how it plans to cut more than $10 million. Although the district hasn’t voted on anything yet, it said it will continue the discussion in an upcoming study session.

“The 2024-25 budget will be challenging,” writes the Edmonds School District’s (ESD) website.

More background: Stakeholders upset about $15m budget cuts at Edmonds schools

The district said it will have to reduce its budget by $10.6 million, or 2.65%.

As a result, the arts and music programs could face more cuts, according to KING 5.

Why does Edmonds School District face a budget shortfall?

“The state does not fully cover all of our district’s required expenses,” writes ESD’s website.

The district laid out a few reasons for the shortfall: $10.2 million was legally required for special education services, $3.8 million for certified and classified substitutes, $3.7 million for required staff salary increases and $2.3 million for required district insurance and cost of utilites.

ESD said funds come from a few different sources such as state funding, local taxes, grants, donations and federal funding.

However, voters might wonder why there is still a shortfall when a bond and levy were just passed.

To which ESD wrote, “It is important to understand voter-approved bonds and technology/capital levies have funding restrictions and can only pay for the cost to replace old schools, build new ones, fund certain technology needs, and provide other long-term upgrades to buildings. These funds cannot be used for the general operating (day-to-day) costs of the district.”

District leaders send letter to state legislators

In December, ESD Board President Dr. Nancy Katims and President of the Edmonds Education Association Andi Nofziger-Meadows wrote a letter to state legislators.

The letter reads in part:

We appreciate your ongoing support of PK-12 public education and your efforts to address the needs of our students, staff, and schools. We know there are competing priorities across the state, and we are grateful for legislation that has been passed over the last several years to support public education. Unfortunately, despite these efforts, school districts across the state are facing a huge financial crisis that requires urgent attention.

Some examples of budget deficits faced by school districts this past spring include estimates for Seattle — $131M; Northshore — $21M; Spokane — $16M; Edmonds — $15M; Tacoma — $10M, to name a few. Districts have worked hard to balance budgets for this year, and as a result, class sizes have increased, courses and programs cut, jobs at all levels lost, and schools closed. We aim to continue to work within our means, but we need help to ensure the students of Washington State have access to a quality public education, no matter where they live.”

More Edmonds news: Video shows armed robbery of postal worker

Edmonds schools make $13M in cuts for 2023-24

However, for the 2023-24 year, ESD found a $15 million shortfall and made $13 million in cuts.

Districts can adjust tuition, fees, rentals and leases on the revenue side. On the spending side, they can adjust basic education, other instruction programs, alternative learning experiences and districtwide support, according to ESD’s website.

Julia Dallas is a content editor at MyNorthwest. You can read her stories here. Follow Julia on X, formerly known as Twitter, here and email her here.

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How will the Edmonds School Board cover a $10M shortfall?