The Jaguar Journal

The Student News Site of North Creek High School

The Jaguar Journal

The Jaguar Journal

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District Budget Re-Hash

District & Unions Reach New Agreements
Estel Soriano Bergua

In preparation for the upcoming 2024-2025 school year, the Northshore School District has been engaged in a bargaining process to discuss agreements for open contracts (a type of contract without a specific date range, which continues as long as all parties are satisfied) in response to the projected 25 million dollar deficiet for the 2024-2025 school year. The bargaining process includes the Northshore School District, the Northshore Education Association (the teachers union), paraprofessionals (trained aides who assist a professional person), the office workers, the coaches union, and the administrative union.

As of March 2024, the primary concern within the budget deficit of the Northshore School District (NSD) is the insufficient funding from the state, resulting in discussions on mitigation strategies to accommodate for the budget deficit.

“In previous years before we had this financial crisis, a typical bargaining year would be moving the entire organization forward,” said Dr. Eric McDowell, principal of North Creek High School. “Things that move forward for the betterment of kids, teachers, staff, etc. This year it’s different because instead of the contract being open for the reason of trying to just improve everything, this is the 100% opposite.”

Most things are on the table to be altered or reduced. Certain cuts or changes require a union agreement as outlined in the collective bargaining agreement, while others can be dealt with by the district. The district controls most of their spending, however fixed costs for utilities and insurance are beyond their control. They can choose to cut or reduce spending on extracurricular programs, staff positions, and certain classes.

“The board asked us to keep some certain things as far as bargaining parameters, and those included focusing on students for education and racial justice, minimizing impacts to students in both the classrooms and in their education experiences, keeping our schools open, making sure that we’re complying to our agreements, and minimizing staff reductions,” said Deputy Superintendent/Chief Financial Officer Ms. JoLynn Berge.

The NSD teachers union has recently signed a contract agreement about various topics such as cutting approximately 40 teaching positions. With fewer staff members, students are directly impacted as there may be larger class sizes, less individual attention, and limited resources.

“Most of our budget is about people and how many people we hire. 85.5% of our total costs are salary related. So it’s about how many people we hired and how much we’re paying them,” said Berge.

The district was aware of the fact that they had been exceeding their total revenue by a small margin in the past few years. This was done knowing they had a fund balance (a savings account that could be spent to a certain amount) with the expectations that the legislature would increase the funding to lift revenues up to meet their expenditures. However, that hasn’t happened yet. Consequently, NSD finds itself at a point where savings accounts have been depleted and they need to decrease their expenditures.

The board prioritized maintaining seven periods to provide students with ample opportunities to fulfill the twenty four credits required for graduation. This benefits students who can’t afford tutoring or supplemental help outside of the classroom, students who don’t speak English as their primary language, students who have a disability, and many more.

Additionally, NSD has heard from students and their families that they enjoy having the ability to take both their core classes and the electives they’re interested in rather than having to choose between the two.

“Seven periods for me is very important for student growth and development because it gives them more options and choices about what they want to learn. It’s not just a credit thinking, but it makes students more wholeheartedly a well versed student.” said Mr. Jay Kenyon, a teacher at North Creek High School.

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About the Contributors
Olene Ordonez, Reporter
Staff Reporter
Estel Soriano Bergua News Editor One of the few people on the team who can actually get things done on time.
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