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School board aims to restore $435k to district

As Sequim students are getting ready for going

back to school, their school board is giving them a little more to come back to.

After trimming nearly $1.4 million in April from what local schools offered in 2008-09,

Sequim's school board of directors are looking at restoring more than $430,000 worth of staff, textbooks and programs

this fall.

The board approved superintendent Bill Bentley's recommendations to bring back two full-time librarians, elementary school office staffers and custodians, plus more hours for transportation staff and partial restoration of the First Teacher program.

The district was able to roll back some of the cuts they made in April thanks to federal stimulus dollars.

"At that time (in April) we didn't have good information of the federal stimulus and how it could be used," Bentley said. "Once the federal government made decisions about that we were able to utilize that money."

But the existing cuts still leaves the district about $200,000 short of improvements they generally make to curriculum and technology. Bentley said the district had already made significant cuts to funding levels for curriculum and technology before this spring.

"I really felt like we were way below having a marginal program in those areas," he said.

Instead of being able to buy a new series of books for several grade levels, the district may be in a position to simply maintain books and computers they have now, Bentley said.

"Even if we ... had what we had last year (in terms of funding), there's still not enough money to do what we want to do," School board president Sarah Bedinger said.

Bentley also recommends using Title I and I-728 funds to reestablish the district talented and gifted program, to provide professional development for staff members and to support a district-wide Teacher on Special Assignment position.

The board may finalize the budget at their Aug. 20 meeting (see box).

Beyond that, school board members are seeking to renew a maintenance and operations levy come early next year. Bentley said the board has a lot of options, both in length and amount of levy dollars.

A levy of similar proportions as what voters passed four years ago would still leave the district far from what Sequim schools looked like, Bentley said.

"If we do that we know we're going to have a budget that's severely limited," he said. "The board is discussing the whole range at this point."



School budget

hearing

What: Sequim School Board of Directors' public hearing to hear and adopt the 2009-10 budget. Anyone may speak for or against the budget or any part of it.

When: 1 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 20

Where: Boardroom in Performing Arts building, 533 N. Sequim Ave.

To learn more: Copies of the proposed 2009-10 budget are available at www.sequim.k12.wa.us and at the district administration office, 503 N.

Sequim Ave. For more information, call 582-3260.

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