The results of the November election likely will spell austerity measures for Kennewick schools, district Business Manager Vic Roberts said at the school board meeting Wednesday.
"Voters said no to taxes," Roberts said, summing up the election results. "Now we have to ask ourselves how we could handle a $5 million to $10 million cut."
Voters reined in the Legislature's ability to raise taxes and repealed an existing tax on soft drinks and candy that generated about $350 million for the state's schools.
The state's budget deficit is projected to be about $4.8 billion, he said. That number might be updated today, when a new revenue forecast is published.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to the Tri-City Herald
Nobody yet knows how much the district will be asked to cut. A final decision from the Legislature isn't expected until March, maybe not even until summer, Superintendent Dave Bond told the board.
That's much too late for a bond measure in February, which is only a last resort anyway, Roberts said.
This means administrators have to guess what might happen and accordingly plan ahead.
"They're scrounging around, trying to find money that's unprotected," Roberts said about the legislators.
The following state monies headed for Kennewick are unprotected:
-- Levy equalization, which is money the state gives to districts with low property values: $10.3 million.
-- K-3 enhancement, which reduces class sizes: $1.6 million.
-- All-day kindergarten: $1.2 million.
-- Teacher bonuses: $665,000.
-- Highly capable, or gifted, programs: $140,000.
-- Certain food services: $112,000.
These add up to a total of $14 million that could be taken away by the state.
Even if it doesn't all go away, the district is bracing for losses of about $5 million, Roberts said.
It could meet those cuts by using certain federal loans, cutting some discretionary spending, such as technology upgrades, and if that's not enough, by cutting staff.
-- The board voted to name the new administrative building on Fourth Street the Kennewick School District Administration Center.
-- The board agreed to sell 4.87 acres of surplus real estate bordering East Reata Road.