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Spokane School Board Holds Budget Forum

Doug Nadvornick/SPR

The Spokane school board is holding a community budget forum tonight [Wednesday]. The forum is the district’s chance to explain to parents and teachers the district’s current fiscal situation.

The district issued layoff notices earlier this spring to about 300 employees. Since then the district received a little more money from the state, but it’s not known whether any of those people will brought back for next year and if so, how many.

Administrators will release their initial budget recommendations tonight and take comment from the public.

At a district open house at Shadle Park last month, Associate Superintendent Mark Anderson said the state’s new basic education funding formula presents challenges to Spokane not only this year, but also looking forward.

“We’re having to adjust our spending to fit the funding that’s available," Anderson said.

So, is the McCleary fix (the legislature's remedy to more fully fund basic education) really a fix?

“I would say most school districts would say no and that’s because the funding system for McCleary, in its definition, is not fully funding what is a basic education, everything from safety and security to wrap around services for nursing and psychologists and those kinds of things. It’s funding the classroom teacher, but that’s about it," he said.

Tonight’s forum is scheduled to run from 5:30 to 6:45, before the board’s regularly scheduled meeting in the district’s administration building downtown.