Huge budget cuts, layoffs coming in some schools after McCleary decision

Huge budget cuts, layoffs coming in some schools after McCleary decision

EVERETT – This week, Everett Public Schools announced plans to cut $6.5 million from its 2019-2020 budget, and an additional $11.5 million from the 2020-2021 budget.

Jeff Moore, Executive Director of Finance and Business Services, added the cuts affect entire programs and include layoffs.

Moore hopes the legislature will consider re-shaping its education funding model and redefine what constitutes basic education, which is fully-funded by the state under the McCleary court decision.

In 2019, Moore said the district will lose $31 million of local levy revenue due to the McCleary court decision, which limits how much districts can collect from levies.

“Our fear is that some of those wrap-around services will diminish and that’s when kids get hurt,” said Moore.

On January 8, the Washington State Legislature will begin session in Olympia.

“We’re not fully-funded. We need help. Both locally and statewide. And we need some better answers,” said Moore.

State Superintendent of Public Instructions Chris Reykdal also wants clarification from the legislation on how the McCleary ruling is interpreted.

“Our primary answer is to get the legislature to spend more state money on a couple things: special education, nurses, counseling and to give school districts more levy authority back,” said Reykal, in a phone interview with KOMO News. “They just cut too deep.”

Everett isn’t the only district facing deficits. The Tacoma School District is eliminating 19 administrative positions along with other spending cuts for a total savings of $16 million. The district says it still needs to shave $7.5 million before year’s end.

The McCleary decision made headlines over the summer when teachers statewide rallied for higher pay.

McCleary allocated about $2 billion toward teacher salaries.

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