School budget changes loom



By Svilen.milev (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 ( or GFDL (], via Wikimedia Commons
Bellevue Public Schools is looking at some major budgetary changes for next year.

According to Assistant Superintendent Jeff Rippe, the budget for next year will be even lower than this year’s.

“Once again, we’ve lost some federal dollars,” Rippe said. “And we’ll have to adjust the district budget to accomodate.”

The district hopes not to affect too much with this, but there may still be changes seen in classrooms. Last year, the district found itself looking at some serious budget cuts, also due to less federal contributions, that led to some changes to Bellevue West’s resources.

“The need to understand and prioritize what we do as a district has led us to do more with less in some operational areas,” BPS Director of Fiscal Affairs Susan Brooks said.

Brooks explained that different areas such as facility repairs, custodial supplies and Wi-Fi implementation have been modified to accommodate a reduced budget. The goal is to impact academics as little as possible.

Another important aspect of the district the cuts could slightly affect is staffing. According to the budget plan presented at the BPS Board of Education meeting, “the District will achieve staff reductions through attrition wherever possible.”

This means that, while the school district won’t lay off staff, when certain teachers leave for various reasons, their classes will be faded into other classes taught by other teachers.

It’s an aim at conserving money that would be spent on wages while minimally impacting the educational value of retaining experienced teachers. The entire administration of the district is on the same page. According to the budget plan, “all cuts will be as far away from students as possible.”

However, technology expansion plans and curriculum review are among long-term plans the district intends to continue expanding.

“I highly respect the Board of Education officials for keeping the cuts as far away from students and teachers as possible,” physics teacher Janis Elliott said. “They keep looking for ways to save, conserve and reduce so we can maintain the standard of education we have.”

The district hasn’t come to any official decisions yet, as official numbers and plans are announced in the summer. Next year will hold certain changes for students and staff of all types, but district administration hopes the changes will eventually balance out.

“Hopefully, down the road we can get back to where we were,” Rippe said. “But we’ll probably never get that federal funding back.”

Mike Sullivan