The governor and state Legislature are facing a shortfall for the 2009-2011 state budget of about $6 billion, and it is likely to go higher. To provide some perspective, that represents approximately 15% of the entire state general fund budget.Add to that the continued fallout from the collapsing roof at CHS, and the potential for more missed days if it snows again--the City of Olympia says, no more snow accumulation or they'll shut 'er down--and you can guess why things have been a little quiet around the blog lately. Consider it mild case of shock.
This is not good news for our District or our community which is the home to many state government employees. More than 40% of the state budget goes to K-12 public schools so we will almost certainly see some budget reductions here in Olympia, as will every other district across Washington.
If the Legislature makes only modest budget reductions to schools and they allow the District to collect all of the funds approved by local taxpayers in our 2008 levy, we could avoid the most drastic cut options. (Our local voters approved a four-year levy in 2008 and they have continued to support funding for our District to the fullest extent allowed by state law.) On the other hand, if funds for the class size Initiative 728 are eliminated, the District could face a shortfall of more than $4 million in 2009-2010, in addition to other cuts. Obviously if this were to happen, we would need to consider options that would never be on the table in any normal budget year.
(Oh, and it's bargaining time for the OEA. I don't envy the team one bit.)