MOSES LAKE, Wash. — The Moses Lake School District announced Tuesday that it is one of the several districts across the state working on a plan to reduce staffing.
Superintendent Dr. Joshua Meek said the district's goal is to preserve as many positions as possible while it works to become financially stable. He said this will be done by not filling or replacing some vacated positions created by retirement or resignation.
He said the district will increase some class sizes.
“The most noticeable impact and difference for students and families will be class sizes that have been operating below or well below the class size targets will be brought up to class size standards," Meek said. "We value our students and staff and take our commitment to their care and well-being seriously. We will be working closely with our employee groups to discuss all of our options as our intent is to save jobs and continue to support Moses Lake School District staff and their families.”
Recent changes to state funding and levy limitations altered the financial outlook of the district, according to district spokesperson McKenna Bruner.
Since 2018, the district lost $11,791,980 of revenue to fund and operate the district, Bruner said. The 2018 levy collected $17,946,309 and the 2019 Levy is only collecting $6,154,329.
“While it is factual that the state has increased their allocation funding in lieu of the loss in levy dollars, the way the district can utilize that funding is extremely limited. Many of the funds have specific programs that limit and provide guidelines as to how those dollars are spent. It is important to note that the financial impact of the state’s response to the McCleary decision not only impacts our teachers, but it will also have an impact on our ability to fund administration and support staff,” Bruner said in a press release.
Bruner said recent collective bargaining efforts between the district and local unions have resulted in an increase of human resource costs of over $8.7 million. The state allocation for teachers gives Moses Lake School District $69,433 per full time teacher but the average salary for teachers in the district is $81,935.
According to Bruner, student enrollment is another factor impacting the districts budget. The district saw an enrollment increase of 1.5 percent over the past 4 years.
Bruner said the numbers impact the allocated stated school funding.
District leaders said undesignated district reserves stand at 2.3 percent of the overall budgeted expenditures. They said current school district policy expects a 12.5 percent undesignated district reserve.
The district has not announced any layoffs.