OLYMPIA, Wash. — At a community forum Tuesday night, Olympia School District (OSD) Superintendent Patrick Murphy announced the district would not be closing any elementary schools to reduce the projected 2023-2024 deficit.
The shortfall will be $11.5 million at most.
The district is waiting on the state to pass its budget which has $2.9 billion earmarked for public schools. Once it receives those funds, OSD will have a clearer path going forward to address the deficit.
A list of budget reduction options for the 2023-2024 school year can be found on the district's website. The list is posted below.
While elementary school closures are off the table, several other budget reductions are still options.
At the elementary level, the district may "no longer deploy Art teachers" adding the library to the weekly rotation to replace art. Band and strings for fourth and fifth grade would no longer be offered.
At the secondary level, class sizes would increase by 5%. General paraeducator allocations to secondary schools could be reduced by 26%. An online middle school Geometry course could be created with a teacher rotating across all middle schools.
In the transportation category, there could be a 75% reduction in the number of bus monitors. Paraeducator hours would expand to serve as bus monitors. Bus routes could be reduced, increasing the time of bus rides.
In athletics, middle school sports could be eliminated. The district could also reduce the amount it covers for fees of low-income students.
In the special education category, class sizes could be increased consistent with the increases seen in other classrooms.
The Olympia School District wants to hear from the community. A School Board Work Session is planned for Thursday and two more public forums will take place on April 10. The public is encouraged to participate. You can find information about the meetings by clicking here.