The San Juan Island School District board agrees the sixth grade should move, but requested staff input on the budget before making a decision.
“In making a decision about the sixth grade, we have to keep the budget in mind,” said Ralph Hahn, vice chairman of the district’s board at the Jan. 25 school board meeting.
Superintendent Dana Diaz said she and her staff will recommend how to balance the budget with the additional staff requests needed in the sixth grade’s move from the elementary school to the middle school at the Feb. 15 district meeting.
The 2017-18 projected school district budget, presented at the meeting, showed a $399,132 deficit and did not include the additional $177,000 for middle school staff, requested by staff if the move is made, at the Jan. 18 meeting. A large reduction in state funds is scheduled for the 2017-18 school year and could further deplete an additional $311,732. Jose Domenech, business manager for the district, speculates the reduction, called a “levy cliff,” has a 50-50 chance of being delayed.
“Common sense would indicate it will be pushed back a year, but nothing definite has come up,” said Domenech.
Staff requested the sixth grade to move to the middle school, due to overcrowding at the elementary school. The middle school originally held grades sixth through eighth, but the sixth grade was moved to the elementary school in 2009 to eliminate the cost of a middle school principal.