No cuts in budget for Olympia schools

lpemberton@theolympian.comMay 21, 2014 

Olympia School District's headquarters, the Knox Administrative Center.

LISA PEMBERTON — lpemberton@theolympian.com

Olympia School District superintendent Dick Cvitanich has proposed a nearly $100.8 million spending package for the 2014-15 school year.

“Right now we’re not proposing any cuts,” Cvitanich said. “We’re going to maintain what we had last year, and enhance what we have.”

The district is on track to spend a projected $94.43 million for the current school year, according to assistant superintendent Jennifer Priddy.

Next year’s proposed budget would leave the district with a reserve of 4.25 percent, or about $4.28 million, she said.

Cvitanich’s s budget includes money for more teachers, paraeducators, school secretaries, science kits, library resources and teaching supplies.

It also includes more contract time for bus drivers, food service workers, office professionals and paraeducators because the district’s three-day waiver from a 180-day calendar year from the state Board of Education ends in June.

Big ticket items in Cvitanich’s proposal include:

 • $295,732 for additional staff to reduce class size at middle and high schools.

 • $207,178 to add 4.6 secretarial positions across the district.

 • $110,000 to restore school supplies budgets.

 • $100,368 to pay for a full-time nurse on each side of the school district.

 • 87,512 to fund a graduation specialist in the district who would provide guidance to students on meeting grad requirements.

 • $85,700 to expand math coaching in the district.

 • $82,000 to restore paraeducator time.

Reeves Middle School principal Aaron Davis said it’s the first budget in several years that didn’t include some type of cut at the building level.

“There are elements of it that I’m pretty excited about that I think will benefit the schools,” he said.

The government recently began exerting tighter controls on federal Title I dollars that were aimed at high-poverty schools due to the loss of the state’s waiver under the No Child Left Behind law. It’s causing major budget issues for some school districts in Washington state.

In Olympia, it will affect about $340,000 in federal funding, Cvitanich said.

The district will need to set aside about $228,000 of those dollars for school choice, and 10 percent for district improvement efforts such as tutoring, Cvitanich said.

“We have some carryover from Title I this year, and we’ll have to augment it from the general fund,” he added.

The Olympia School Board is slated to adopt a final budget on June 9.

Lisa Pemberton: 360-754-5433 lpemberton@theolympian.com @Lisa_Pemberton

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