Federal Way schools' budget waits for Olympia

The Federal Way School District has a lot riding on the outcome of this week's special legislative session.

One of the biggest issues to be discussed this week is the state budget. Currently, the Senate's budget would mean a cut of $5.7 million for the district. The House's budget shows a loss of $3.2 million for the district. The governor's budget, which was released in December, takes away $11.7 million in funding for the district.

The Legislature had adjourned at 8:42 p.m. March 11 after a 60-day regular session, but the special session is already under way, starting at noon Monday. Gov. Chris Gregoire expects the session to run seven days, with other lawmakers estimating up to 10 days, according to the Olympian.

Breakdown of the budgets

There are a few things that all or the majority of the budgets had in common, so the district can expect to see that funding go. This includes middle school career and technical programs, for which the district last year received $25,995. That money was gone in both the Governor's and the House budgets.

I-728 funding is a voter-approved initiative that dedicated state revenue for professional development days for educators, early education support and class size reductions. I-728, which last year was $2.8 million, was taken out in all three budgets. Also sure to be taken out is the BEST program, which aids in teacher training.

Basic education funding also took about a $2 million hit in both the governor's and the Senate's budgets. In the House, basic education was given roughly the same amount as last year, $103 million.

Some areas that could see reductions are state funded all-day kindergarten, the Local Effort Assistance and the Highly Capable funding, all which were completely cut in the governor's budget.

Sally McLean, chief financial officer for Federal Way schools, said that even though the funding is cut, it doesn't necessarily mean that the program is automatically cut. The Federal Way School District could find ways to fund to program through other means, and cut a different program instead.

District's budget

Once the district gets a firm grasp on what funding will be, it will begin moving forward on its own budget. On April 27, Superintendent Tom Murphy will present his budget recommendations to the board and after a time for public comment, the board is scheduled to adopt the budget on June 22.

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