State sends reinforcements to review Marysville’s struggling school budget

Jun 19, 2024, 12:17 PM | Updated: 5:07 pm

Image: The service center for Marysville School District...

The service center for Marysville School District (Photo courtesy of Marysville School District)

(Photo courtesy of Marysville School District)

The Washington State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Chris Reykdal, has put together a committee to review the Marysville School District’s (MSD) budget. As reported by the Everett Herald, this is the first time the state has done this in any school district.

MSD is in financial binding conditions with the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI), according to a news release from the district on Tuesday. Therefore, OSPI and the Northwest Educational Service District (NWESD) provide guidance and oversight for MSD, which is required to meet a set of binding conditions and report its progress.

“The Financial Oversight Committee will provide the district with additional oversight, guidance and recommendations, and I feel the district will benefit from this action,” MSD Superintendent Dr. Robbins said via the news release. “The district takes the binding conditions very seriously and will continue to work hard to meet each of the required conditions.”

Other news: Seattle school to say goodbye to cell phones in the fall

As stated by MSD’s website, the binding conditions started last August because the district was spending more money than it had coming in. Therefore, Reykdal put together the Financial Oversight Committee earlier this month to review the district’s situation.

“I have determined that the district is financially insolvent,” Reykdal wrote in a letter to district leaders as reported by the Herald. “Because it is reasonably foreseeable that unless action is taken, (the district’s) financial situation will result in a deficit general fund balance within three years and the district is unable to prepare and execute a satisfactory financial plan.”

According to the Herald, the committee will include two OPSI representatives, a local “nonvoting representative” and a representative from another school district.

Marysville School District faces difficulties

MSD’s website states that last August, the district was in a $17.5 million deficit but as of February that number has been reduced to $3.2 million. But apart from monetary issues, the district has faced a slue of challenges.

Earlier this week, it was announced that the Marysville school board president has decided to step down, just days after the human resources director resigned.

Past coverage: Marysville school board president steps down amid turbulent period for school district

Wade Rinehardt, who was elected as the school board president in 2021, left his post. According to The Everett Herald, the decision — announced by Board Vice President Connor Krebbs at Monday’s board meeting — was met with applause by both parents and staff.

Earlier this month, Lisa Gonzales, the district’s finance director, called for the school board to place both the superintendent and head of human resources on leave.

“On May 30, I prepared and sent a 78-page document to the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction regarding the need for an external investigation regarding falsifications, violations of the law, cronyism and a hostile work environment that is most prevalent with top leadership and HR directed to other executive directors, directors, legal counsel and other support staff specifically at the service center,” Gonzales wrote in a letter for the school board, obtained by The Everett Herald.

In February, Marysville parents, teachers and staff rallied against the school board, expressing displeasure with the superintendent. They claimed the district is suffering from many financial problems under Robbins and called for a change in leadership.

Contributing: Frank Sumrall, MyNorthwest

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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