March 11, 2010 in Washington Voices

Central Valley budget cut options decided

School district sets community meetings for comment on trims, fees
By The Spokesman-Review

Coming up

The Central Valley School District will hold a series of community workshops to get feedback from the public regarding possible cuts to the district’s 2010-’11 budget. Each workshop will be held from 7 to 8:45 p.m.

March 23, University High School, 12420 E. 32nd Ave.

March 24, Horizon Middle School, 3915 S. Pines Road

March 25, Central Valley High School, 821 S. Sullivan Road

For more information, call the district office at (509) 228-5400.

The Central Valley School District board of directors decided on a list of potential budget cuts to help offset losses expected when the state budget is approved. The list is not final and the district hopes to receive community input to help the board make its final decisions later this year.

Superintendent Ben Small told the board that he expects a $1.5 million to $2 million shortfall for the coming school year and the district must prioritize programs and services to reflect the loss of funds.

He added that he expects to lose the funding from Initiative 728. The initiative was approved by voters in 2000 as the Student Achievement Fund. The funds were used in the district to provide 20.3 full-time employees, who are certificated teachers serving classrooms as academic support staff and coaches in math and language arts.

For the 2009-’10 school year, the district received $1.56 million to fund the program.

“I’m not saying that’s an easy cut,” Small told the board.

The board decided to move forward assuming the district will lose those funds.

“(We have to) be responsible and say ‘Cut it,’ but I don’t like it,” said board member Debra Long.

The board’s job Monday was to decide which budget items to place before the community for discussion.

The items on the list stem from community discussions last year regarding budget priorities. Some of the items include cutting nutrition services costs by $50,000 by reducing the subsidy it receives from local levy funding.

Another option is to either cut or eliminate low-turnout, high-cost athletics and activities such as golf, gymnastics, seventh-grade football and middle school intramurals or to implement participation fees of $55 for high school activities and $25 for middle school. Small said the district should decide on one of these options, but not both. Savings from these options would be about $125,000.

Other items include eliminating the elementary strings program, reducing school staffing, eliminating zero-hour classes and getting rid of midday transportation by making kindergarten classes all day, but meeting two days a week. There are 31 programs on the list for community discussion.

Small also presented the board with two revenue generating options the district could consider. The first would be to charge for the use of the district’s facilities for groups outside the district. Central Valley is one of the only districts in the area that does not charge user fees for its facilities. The other option would be to sell advertising on the district’s buses, both inside and outside.

The list the board approved is just the springboard to conversations parents, teachers, staff and other community members that will take place in the coming months.

The district will hold three community workshops this month to begin the conversation and the full list will be placed on the district’s Web site at

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