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Kelso Schools Proposes Cuts To Offset $4 Million Shortfall

KELSO, Wash. (AP) – The Kelso School District has proposed cutting about 16 full-time teaching positions and 16 other full-time positions, among other reductions, to balance a $4 million budget gap in 2019-20.

The Daily News reports that staffing accounts for about 80 percent of the district’s overall operating budget, and district officials have said they aim to save money by downsizing staff.

However, the district’s intention is to avoid layoffs and instead cut positions through “attrition,” or leaving positions vacated by retirements and resignations unfilled.

Superintendent Mary Beth Tack said f the proposed plan moves forward, the district won’t have to lay off anyone and will save about $1.4 million on salary and benefit costs.

The district is planning to cut about 5.7 percent of its $70 million budget to make up for reduced local income caused by the “McCleary” local levy cap. The cap was part of the state Legislature’s new funding model, which increased the state’s funding to public schools, but limited how much a district can raise in local taxes.

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