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Mead School District Proposes Budget Cuts

Mead School District

Mead school administrators have proposed about $15 million in budget cuts to offset a cut in revenue from the state. The spending plan was formally presented to the school board on Wednesday night.

Mead is one of several Spokane area districts looking at the possibility of laying off employees next year. The north Spokane district faces a $12 million shortfall, in part because of new restrictions on local school district levies.

Assistant superintendent Wayne Leonard says, as it stands today, the district would gain some state money next year, but lose about six million dollars in local levy authority. The two years after that, he says, don’t look any better, with increased costs for smaller class sizes at the lower grades, higher health care costs and two new schools and a new sports complex opening in about a year-and-a-half.

Leonard outlined four pages of potential cuts, totaling about 15-million dollars, to give school board members options. They include reductions in staffing in several areas. Among the cuts: eliminating the district’s elementary school sports programs and closing the Riverpoint Academy, a special program for high school students.

The school board isn’t required to approve a new budget for the next school year until the end of August. But Leonard says the district has a May 15 deadline to notify employees who would be laid off.

There are still a few days left in the legislative session and lawmakers must approve the budget, so Leonard says there’s some hope for higher funding levels or an easing in the local levy restrictions. But he says, after recent talks with legislators, he’s not optimistic that any of that will happen.