Northwest NEWS

June 17, 2002

Front Page

District has had to make difficult decisions

by Karen Waddington
   Contributing Writer
   Part II of two parts
   According to Riverview Superintendent Conrad Robertson, the district is down 60 students from last fall which results in a $300,000 loss in funding for the district. Couple that with a smaller kindergarten enrollment, federal budget cuts, and increases in costs and you've got a problem.
   Legislative cuts have come in the amount of $225,000, and with the passage of I-728 and I-732, and several other factors, the district is left with a shortfall in the amount of $1,014,398.
   During several extensive budget meetings, the board has found ways to reduce expenditures and come within $85,000 of balancing the budget.
   Numerous factors go into planning the budget every year. Robertson sites several examples of items that have contributed to the budget shortfall. For instance, the technology levy that was passed several years ago is coming to an end.
   The salary to maintain the technology put into place will now have to be paid out of the district funds instead of through the levy. State grants and special programs have also received cuts for next year reducing funding across the state.
   However, there is some good news. The district has taken steps to reduce utilities use by a projected $100,000 next year. They have also reduced other budgets and are using current grants and existing funding to offset some of the major expenses.
   Robertson is assured that the district is streamlining and no reduction in force will take place.
   Some difficult decisions have also had to be made. The security officer at Cedarcrest had to be cut leaving the City of Duvall officers to act as security for the high school. A reduction has also resulted in one less Education Assistant hour a day district wide.
   However, Robertson feels that some of these measures are streamlining issues that needed to be done anyway. For instance, even with the reduction in EA hours, Riverview's Education Assistant hours are still four times greater than those of other similarly sized districts.
   Dan Pflugrath, School Board President, is assured that the budget will be balanced. The board is to have a preliminary budget prepared by July 10, 2002 and a final copy prepared by Aug.31.
   Pflugrath feels that there are other opportunities to balance the budget, and unfortunately the district has no reserves to fall back on, so the board is forced to come up with creative ways to bring the deficit numbers to $0.
   Robertson feels that this is important information and that the public needs to understand what's going on. "We will do what has the least effect on students' learning," claims Robertson.