January 9, 2012 in City

Districts will ask voters to help support hundreds of jobs

By The Spokesman-Review
 
File photos photo

Extracurricular position: Lewis and Clark girls basketball coach Jim Redmon instructs his team at the 2008 State 4A tournament.
(Full-size photo)(All photos)

School levies are often associated with K-12 programs, such as sports, art and music.

But the community-supported portion of a school district’s budget – a local tax – also helps pay for hundreds of jobs within a school district, including teachers, coaches, bus drivers, secretaries and janitors.

Three-year levies in 13 of Spokane County’s school districts will expire at the end of 2012, and voters will be asked to continue the taxes – plus tack on a few more cents to compensate for state budget cuts.

Ballots will be mailed on Jan. 27 for the Feb. 14 vote.

School officials hope the recent uptick in the economy means the levies have a good chance of passing. The tax makes up about 20 to 25 percent of each district’s budget. With slight variations, each school district divides its levy dollars similarly.

Below is a breakdown of jobs supported by the levy in Spokane Public Schools, the region’s largest district. Spokane Public Schools receives about $73 million in levy funds.

How many jobs does the levy support?

The local tax supplement pays for nearly 3,000 positions, including teachers, coaches, extracurricular advisers, special education teachers and support staff. The remainder of the district’s compensation costs are covered by state and federal money.

Certified positions

Teachers, counselors and librarians fall under this category. The amount of levy money used to support certified staff is enough to pay for 509 full-time certified employees, a majority of whom are teachers.

There are 1,909 certified staff in Spokane Public Schools’ total budget. A levy failure would mean eliminating about a quarter of them.

Classified positions

This group includes secretaries, custodians, technical support staff, maintenance, human resource specialists, payroll employees and school resource officers.

The levy pays for 269 classified positions. Total classified positions districtwide: 1,007.

Extracurricular

The levy fully funds coaches and advisers for extracurricular activities. Many people in these positions are also teachers and other district employees, so they receive a stipend on top of their regular pay. But without the levy, district officials say, there would be no money for any extra duties.

The local tax pays for 530 coaches and 1,601 advisers for clubs, programs and activities.

Administration

The superintendent, assistant superintendents, directors, managers, principals, vice principals and classified supervisors fall under this heading.

The levy pays for 37 of these positions. Total administrators: 141.

Other positions

This category includes contracted services, such as bus drivers, special education teachers and instructional assistants.

The levy funds about 10 percent of the total special education budget. This equates to about 47 positions.

Source: Spokane Public Schools

ExpenditureCostPct. of levy
Certified salaries, positions$34,586,92447.19
Classified salaries, positions$21,272,07729.02
Materials, supplies, purchased services$10,444,73214.25
Administrative salaries, positions$6,988,7259.54
Total expenditures$73.3 million100

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