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State School Fix Does Not Work For Port Angeles

State School Fix Does Not Work For Port Angeles
Posted on 03/06/2019
State School Fix Does Not Work For Port Angeles

Here is a look at some of the fiscal challenges Port Angeles School District (PASD) is dealing with:

In order to balance the budget for the 2018/19 school year, the District reduced expenditures by nearly 2 percent ($1 million) and are planning for a 5 percent ($2.6 million) reduction in the 2019-20 school year due to inequities under the state’s new funding model for education.

Last year, the courts determined that the Legislature had “fully funded” education as required by the state Supreme Court in the McCleary Decision. The Legislature channeled more than $1 billion new dollars into education, and the courts determined that the job was done.

The problem is that the McCleary funding formula does not work to our advantage in the Port Angeles School District. In fact, this new funding model creates severe revenue challenges for us. This necessitates a reduction in force. These challenges are identified below.

Local Levy Impact: Additional state funding did not offset the reduction in local levies. The new levy cap on property tax of $1.50 per $1,000 of assessed value began in January 2019. This new cap represents a decrease of nearly 40% of local levy funds. The 2017/18 Levy Collection brought in $8.8 million, where the projected 2018-19 Levy Collection is $7 million. The projected 2019/20 Levy Collection is $5.2 million.

Underfunded Special Education: Special Education is not fully funded by the state. The District spent $900,000 in local funds on Special Education in 2017/18. These costs are mandated and are dictated by student enrollment.

Regionalization: The Regionalization Factor provides additional % to funded staff units to some district. PASD currently receives 6% Temporary funding, but this temporary amount regresses each year. The 6% regionalization represents $517,648 of our allocation for this year and next year.

Outdated Prototypical Funding Model: Did you know that currently the state funds:

  • 7 counselors for PASD among 8 school sites
  • .5 of a school nurse position for 3,800 students
  • 6 para educators for Basic Education District-wide

State Mandated School Employee Benefits Board (SEBB): The state will be providing additional funds to cover cost increases to the new state mandated School Employee Benefits Board (SEBB) but it doesn’t cover all of it. Based on current conversation at the state level, the District could be required to spend an additional $500,000 in local funds to offset the difference.

Conclusion

The legislative response to McCleary has not provided salary increases in a sustainable manner. The inadequacy of McCleary funding to pay for basic education while significantly raising teacher and staff salaries and capping local levies has led to an estimated budget deficit of $2.6 million for Port Angeles School District for the 2019-20 school year

Photo: Superintendent Brewer has presented this information to each school building in PASD, as well as community coffee chats. For more information, or for further assistance, contact Patsene Dashiell, communications and community relations coordinator, at 360.565.3703.