Community input sought in 2010-11 budget planning

The community is invited to weigh in on budget priorities for the 2010-11 school year as the district prepares for more spending reductions due to declining state revenue.

“The question isn’t if we will have budget reductions, but how much?” said Deputy Superintendent Debra Aungst.

Results of a budget survey that was posted to this Web site in January will be shared on this Web site and reviewed by the school board, Superintendent Tony Apostle, and district leadership as they prepare a draft spending plan.

A draft budget is expected to be released by early March, at which time the community will have further opportunity to comment during open public feedback forums. Dates and locations are posted on the district Web site.

Puyallup, like other school districts across Washington, is directly impacted by the dismal state economic forecast.

The state funds nearly three quarters — 73 percent — of the district’s budget. Another 6 percent comes from the federal government, and local levy money provides the other 21 percent.

The reductions are in addition to $42 million of budget cuts that will be necessary if the proposed school programs and operations replacement levy fails in the February 9 election.

State lawmakers convened on January 11 to begin tackling the state’s budget challenges.

While the amount of reductions to K-12 education, and to Puyallup in particular, won’t be known until after the legislative session ends, this district is moving forward with its budget planning.

For the past several months, Aungst has been meeting with a cross section of district stakeholders and asked the same questions that are on the Web budget survey. The groups included representation of parents, district employees, retired educators, union representatives, and the business community.

“We are hoping to get lots of perspectives,” Aungst said. “These are very difficult choices and very real choices that we will have to make.”

Last year, the economic downturn statewide resulted in $13.8 million of budget reductions in this district. These included a reduction of support services, modification or elimination of some existing programs, reduction of teachers and support staff, and reallocation of staff resources.

See dates for public budget forums
See more 2010-11 budget planning information