Our Budget Picture
We want to give you an update on our budget picture for 2019-20.
As you know, our state revenue is directly tied to our enrollment. After years of steady growth, Highline’s enrollment numbers were unexpectedly low this year, and we anticipate the loss of another 500 students next year.
This is true for districts all over King County.
While home construction continues to go up, there are fewer students per home.
We have fewer ELL students than we have had for years.
Private school enrollment is also down.
While analysts are not sure why this is happening, housing costs are likely a factor.
Based on what we expect to receive from the state, we face a budget shortfall of $14.8 million for 2019-20. Of that, $8 million is due to the decline in enrollment. In addition, our levy dollars are reduced by $14 million for 2020 due to the McCleary levy cap.
We have several additional necessary expenses:
- $3+ million for employee compensation and benefits
- $1+ million for K-2 teachers and paras to meet state-funded class size
- $1+ million to staff the new Glacier Middle School (administrators, counselors, nurse, custodians)
- $1+ in increased costs to maintain current services
Here is our plan to address the shortfall:
- We will save $2.9 million through staff reductions in schools where there are fewer students. We anticipate we will absorb these as staff leave Highline or retire.
- Central Office will see about $2 million in cuts through reorganization and reducing contracts.
- We will use $10 million in savings (the acorns we squirreled away).
We will not know our budget picture for certain until the end of April when the legislative session ends. We will hold a public hearing on the budget in June before the school board adopts a final budget.
There are several funding measures pending in the legislature. We will keep you informed.