Washoe County School District Tentatively Approves Budget
The Washoe County School Board is scheduled to discuss the upcoming fiscal year budget at a special meeting on Tuesday.
The Washoe County School Board tentatively approved their budget for the 2018-2019 fiscal year in a meeting Tuesday afternoon.
At its February 27th meeting, staff presented its first budget update about how the school district could reduce their more than $18 million budget deficit. Rather than budget based on what's been funded before, the district said it would prioritize programs and operations based on what matters most to the community.
During Tuesday's meeting, the board voted to move forward with cutting up to 32 job positions. Among them are administrative jobs and bus driver positions. Other changes to the transportation department would require walk zones for elementary and middle school students to increase by a fourth of a mile. These cuts could reduce the deficit by up to $9 million.
"We did talk about that with citizens at our budget forums and in our community budget survey that was one of the ideas that the public was more in favor of than other cuts that we might have to make," said Katy Simon Holland, President of the WCSD Board of Trustees.
Athletics, the arts and a well-rounded education were some of the common themes that parents said they’d want to keep in schools.
One of the proposals that did not make the chopping block was the recommendation to remove 10 English Language teachers. Instead the jobs will stay and a new ELL pilot program will exist in up to 30 schools.
Among those grateful for the move was Denise Lopez, who used to benefit from the English Language Learners program herself.
"I wouldn't be where I am today, I wouldn't be able to speak the language, I wouldn't have been able to be successful," said Lopez.
Another noticeable cut is the district's travel budget, which will reduce by 50%.
The final budget will be approved in May.