Families, staff and other community members have just a few more days to fill out Renton School District’s online survey on next school year’s budget cuts. The survey ends March 13.
So far over 200 people have provided feedback through the site, Renton School District Spokesperson Randy Matheson said. From the feedback so far, Matheson said most questions are related to funding allocations.
He said many have asked why the schools November-approved bond monies that are meant to fund construction of a new elementary school and instead can’t go towards the budget, even staff. But bond dollars legally must be used for what the voters intended them for, so Matheson said the $125 million bond that has just been sold has to go to construction. Additionally, much of the district funding from outside sources like federal and state funds are budgeted for specific uses. Renton can only look at materials, supplies, curriculum, staff wages and benefits for most of the $12 million to $15 million needed in cuts.
The district also held three budget information sessions at Renton, Lindbergh and Hazen high schools, but those were sparsely attended. A few parents and teachers attended the Renton High School session, and due to the small turnout Superintendent Damien Pattenaude turned the event into a round-table discussion with attendees that went in-depth on budgeting and district priorities for about an hour.
Community members have also been asking Renton Schools what steps they’ve taken so far to keep cuts away from the classroom. Matheson confirmed that three personnel out of administration have been already told their jobs would be cut next year, and said there will likely be more. The district is examining each department and asking for staff to evaluate the most necessary positions. Each department had to submit possible cuts to supervisors, who are now reviewing that.
The district budget webpage will still have the 13-minute presentation available for people to view. The presentation and survey are both available at rentonschools.us/departments/business-services/budget/2020-21budget.