Where Clark County districts stand
Nearly every school district in Clark County is projecting significant general fund deficits in the upcoming school year. Here’s a summary:
Evergreen Public Schools
Average enrollment: 25,483 students
2018-2019 general fund expenditures: $368,794,502
Expected deficit in 2019-2020: $15 million to $18 million
Details: Evergreen Public Schools is eyeing a slate of cuts including 37 administrative positions, middle and high school instructional coaches and library media assistants. The district hosted a series of community forums last month to collect feedback on the process. More than 500 people attended one of the four sessions.
Vancouver Public Schools
Average enrollment: 22,936
2018-2019 general fund expenditures: $324,020,703
Expected deficit in 2019-2020: $14.3 million
Details: Vancouver Public Schools has slowly rolled out its proposed cuts for several months and intends to present more preliminary budget reduction recommendations at its Tuesday school board meeting. So far, the district projects it will eliminate about 50 school-based teaching and instructional positions, five district-level administrative positions and a 5 percent cut to central office and support staff hourly positions, materials and operating costs.
Battle Ground Public Schools
Average enrollment: 12,974
2018-2019 general fund expenditures: $187,800,480
Expected deficit in 2019-2020: $8 million
Details: Battle Ground Public Schools has not announced specific cuts, but Superintendent Mark Ross said the district will likely eliminate some counselor, nurse and speech pathologist positions through retirement and attrition.
Camas School District
Average enrollment: 7,258
2018-2019 general fund expenditures: $93,671,501
Expected deficit in 2019-2020: $8.2 million
Details: The district created a budget committee to look at various options, including cuts, for how to handle the deficit. The district is considering a reduction in force of teachers and administrative staff, according to its website. “Every position in the district is being considered. Each position is important to our current delivery model and we know that any reduction disrupts that model,” district officials wrote in a frequently asked questions page.
Ridgefield School District
Average enrollment: 3,179
2018-2019 general fund expenditures: $41,300,040
Expected deficit in 2019-2020: $750,000
Details: Enrollment is up again in the Ridgefield School District, meaning projected revenue is up as well. Even so, the district is projecting a deficit. Superintendent Nathan McCann said the district will know more when the school board approves a final budget this summer.
Washougal School District
Average enrollment: 3,102
2018-2019 general fund expenditures: $45,101,982
Expected deficit in 2019-2020: $888,155
Details: Superintendent Mary Templeton said the district plans to use reserve dollars to make up the difference while aiming to keep the reserve balance at about 10 percent at the end of the four-year period. “For next year, I am not planning on reducing staff members and hope to maintain this plan over the course of the next four years,” Templeton said. “We will need to ‘tighten our belts,’ look for improved efficiencies and evaluate our service delivery models for education.”
Hockinson School District
Average enrollment: 1,952
2018-2019 general fund expenditures: $24,914,713
Expected deficit in 2019-2020: $1.5 million to $1.8 million
Details: Perhaps more than any other district in the Clark County area, Hockinson’s immediate financial needs are unknown. In February, voters rejected a three-year operations levy and three-year technology levy. The district is running both again on April 23. If they pass, the district should be OK for the 2019-2020 school year, Superintendent Sandra Yager said.
La Center School District
Average enrollment: 1,664
2018-2019 general fund expenditures: $21,197,589
Expected surplus in 2019-2020: $475,000
Details: La Center is the only Clark County district projecting a budget surplus in the 2019-2020 school year, but Superintendent Dave Holmes said the projections are looking “way too high.”
“(The) ’19-’20 and beyond numbers are likely too kind as we’re seeing what looks like a substantial decrease in levy equalization dollars moving forward that is more impactful than previously thought,” he said. Holmes added that he doesn’t anticipate making any staff or program cuts for the upcoming school year.
Green Mountain School District
Average enrollment: 162
2018-2019 general fund expenditures: $2,397,786
Expected deficit in 2019-2020: $122,538
Details: Budget projections can change quickly in a district the size of Green Mountain, a K-8 district in the hills east of Woodland. “Our projected revenue from state apportionment is based on projected enrollment, which in our small district can fluctuate considerably,” Superintendent Tyson Vogeler said. “As an example, I have a family with five children that will likely leave our district at the end of this year. That’s approximately a $60,000 reduction in our apportionment which is not included in this projection.”
SOURCES: Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, area school districts
— Adam Littman and Katie Gillespie