Olympia schools to weigh cuts

OLYMPIA – High school drill teams, an overnight camping trip for fifth-graders and a bus for students attending the Olympia district’s alternative program could be saved from budget cuts as the Olympia School Board tries to balance a $1.9 million shortfall, but elementary school music and physical education could be trimmed.

The board is scheduled to consider passing a budget with a general fund of $87.4 million at its June 23 meeting. On Wednesday, the board will hold a public hearing for residents who want to offer comment on the 2009-10 budget proposal and the board’s amendments. The public hearing starts at 6:30 p.m. at the district office board room, 1113 Legion Way S.E., Olympia.

The school board proposed nine changes to district Superintendent Bill Lahmann’s budget proposal. His proposal included furloughs in pay and workdays for district administrators, eliminating high school gymnastics, cutting the drill team and boys swimming, making changes to middle-school sports, cutting various stipends for certain school duties, reducing building- supply budgets and cutting the annual fifth-grade trip to the Cispus Environmental Learning Center in Randle.

Seven of board’s amendments would restore about $245,000 of the cuts, including:

 • Restoring the health room paraeducators at high schools, $20,000,

 • High school gymnastics, drill team and boys swimming, which will cost $67,000, but will also bring in $8,000 in revenue,

 • Restoring a stipend for the library department coordinator, $4,000,

 • Not implementing administration furloughs, $51,000,

 • Restoring the outdoors school trip to Cispus, $70,000,

 • Restoring the Options bus route, $17,000,

 • Restoring the elementary school bus duty stipend, $16,000.

Two board amendments would cut about $264,000 from the budget:

 • Eliminating board travel to the annual Washington State School Directors’ Association, $3,000.

 • Eliminating music and physical education for kindergarten through third grade, $261,000. Such a change would not affect band, orchestra and music offered in fourth and fifth grades, administrators told the board last week.

Venice Buhain: 360-754-5445