Budget time for Evergreen, Vancouver districts

Spending cuts near final approval

By Howard Buck, Columbian staff writer

Published:

Updated: August 9, 2011, 9:26 PM

 

The Evergreen and Vancouver school boards on Tuesday teed up final budget reduction plans for 2011-12 that would slice a total $15.6 million in spending from last year’s service levels.

Vancouver’s plan calls for $9.5 million in total adjustments: $3.4 million in new revenue from building rentals, student meals, a bump in voter-approved property taxes and the district’s large reserve fund is paired with $6.1 million in spending cuts that mostly spare classrooms.

Evergreen’s $9.5 million plan relies entirely on cutbacks. They range from slicing 10 teaching positions and a handful of instructional (teacher) coaches and school counselor and intervention specialists, to reduced middle-school athletic and music programs, to further clerical and staffing cuts, to $2.4 million in special education reductions.

There was no public opposition voiced during the two meetings.

The ink isn’t dry on either plan, however.

While the Vancouver board gave its final blessing Tuesday, the plan hinges on a 1.9 percent salary reduction for all teachers and most employees. And, the Vancouver teachers union and district officials have yet to strike a new contract deal to accommodate that change.

Tuesday marked the first public hearing of Evergreen’s proposal, unveiled in late June by Superintendent John Deeder. The board returns on Aug. 23 to consider final approval.

Vancouver

Highlights of the $6.1 million savings plan — part of a proposed $210.6 million operating budget (1.1 percent less than the $213 million spent during 2010-11):

• Reduce bus service and widen student walking zones at Hough, Sacajawea and Eleanor Roosevelt elementary schools.

• Close the Vancouver Early Childhood Center that serves preschool-age students with developmental delays, shifting six classrooms and other Head Start classes to VPS elementary schools.

On the Web

More on district budgets:

Evergreen Public Schools:

http://bit.ly/qi0S3S

Vancouver Public Schools:

http://bit.ly/oYpEXY

• Limit public use of the Jim Parsley Community Center swimming pool to weekends. This summer the pool has been open seven days a week, according to its website.

• Drop the GEAR UP middle school program that promotes college readiness and study skills. (Potential new grant money could revive the program.)

• Suspend for one year the $875 stipend teachers get to pay for post-graduate classes and other professional training.

• Trim district central office administration staffing by about 16 percent, the equivalent of 12.7 full-time employees.

• Eliminate three instructional coaches who help math teachers better reach students.

• Across-the-board pay cuts, per 1.9 percent reduction in state salary reductions. Administrator salaries will be cut 3 percent.

For school teachers on a state base salary scale of $34,048 to $64,174, the annual loss would be $647 to $1,219.

Evergreen

Key cutbacks in a proposed $239.4 million operating budget (down 0.9 percent from $241.6 million spent in 2010-11):

• Cut 10 teaching positions.

• Reduce special education spending by $2.4 million, adopting higher employee case loads in line with those at comparable school districts.

• Reduce high school academic coaches, some drug and alcohol intervention specialists and one equivalent middle school counselor position.

• Eliminate fifth-grade environmental science field trips, and reduce middle school football and fifth-grade band programs by $175,000 each.

• Reduce clerical support at all secondary schools and at the district level, saving $525,000.

• Reduce supply and materials costs by $800,000, and maintenance services by $500,000.

• Eliminate one district administrator slot, saving $165,000.

• Evergreen’s plan also assumes across-the-board salary cuts for teachers and nonteaching employees, pending collective bargaining results.