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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Districts await firm budget news

Mead, Spokane schools both plan cuts starting near $5 million

Spokane County school districts are still guessing at the depth of program cuts, with legislative budgets a question mark across the state.

“We are planning for the worst, hoping for the best,” said Wayne Leonard, Mead School District’s business director.

Mead could have to cut from $5.1 million to $9.1 million from its $82 million budget. For Spokane Public Schools, officials may have to trim $5.3 million to $8.5 million from its $308.2 million budget.

The ranges are wide because the governor, the House and the Senate have different proposals for bridging the $9 billion budget shortfall.

“We’ve been looking at everything,” Leonard said. “We are reviewing all the programs.”

Figures on the number of staff members or which programs the dollar amounts represent have not been made public.

However, on Monday the Mead School Board will hear a plan to cut $5.1 million. The district has more than 1,000 employees, and about 550 are certified staff, Leonard said.

About 76 percent of Mead’s budget comes from the state. The rest is collected through local taxes and fees and federal grants, Leonard said.

“It’s a state issue, not a local issue,” Leonard said. “We passed our levy, and we have good community support.”

The state provides about 69 percent of revenues for Spokane schools.

Unlike Mead, officials in Spokane have decided to wait for the final numbers before deciding what to cut.

“It doesn’t make any sense to tell people about what programs are going to be reduced until we know exactly what the budget is going to be,” Superintendent Nancy Stowell said. “We will wait until it’s definitive.”

The next Mead School District board meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Monday at Farwell Elementary School, 13005 N. Crestline St.

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