Frequently Asked Questions

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Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Budget and Reduction Plan to Address 2019-20 SY Deficit

The Olympia School District faces a significant budget deficit in the 2019-20 school year. The 2017 legislation to reform state funding for public schools adversely impacts our district; our district would have been better off under the old formulas/system. As of March 2019, we project an $8.5 million deficit, which is equivalent to 6% of our operating budget for the 2019-20 school year. Below are answers to some of the most common questions we have received about our district budget, and the reduction in staffing for the 2019-20 school year needed to address this deficit. We will update these questions and answers periodically.

1.) Why is OSD planning for a reduction in staff and programs?

Given our current financial outlook, OSD must reduce our expenditure plan by approximately $8.5 million. Considering that approximately 85 cents of every dollar we spend is for staff salaries and benefits, the district cannot address reductions without reducing the number of staff that we deploy. Therefore, OSD will be constructing a Reduced Educational Plan to reduce costs in the upcoming school year. This will include central office reductions, as well as school-based administrator, teacher and support staff reductions.

2.) Can’t you cut spending somewhere other than staff?

We will first look at reducing Materials, Supplies and Operating Costs (MSOC) beginning in spring 2019 through the 2019-20 school year, not filling positions vacated by attrition, implementing travel restrictions, re-negotiating district costs for vendors, considering furlough days and more.

However, as mentioned above, approximately 85 percent of OSD’s budget is the workforce. The only way to significantly address the deficit is to reduce the number of staff.

District leaders will have to make hard decisions; decisions we wish we did not have to make, but necessary nonetheless. We intend to keep our staff and all members of our community informed as we move forward as a district to ensure financial solvency.

3.) How will decisions be made about school allocations?

We will make every effort to minimize cuts to the classroom. The Board will consider staff reduction options, community and staff feedback in a survey and public testimony, and then adopt a budget for the upcoming year.

4.) How will certificated OEA staff be impacted in the event of a Reduced Education Plan?

OSD will follow the Olympia Education Association (OEA) Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) language for a Reduction in Force. Because a Reduction In Force is a districtwide review of all OEA employees, all schools would most likely be impacted. Seniority and endorsements are key factors in the process. The seniority list has been finalized, has been sent to all certificated employees and is also available on the staff intranet.

5.) When will OEA staff be notified about their position for the 2019-20 school year?

OSD will follow the OEA CBA language and state law for a Reduction In Force process. By law, all certificated employees must be notified by May 15. (Non-certificated/classified staff, please see number 7.)

6.) What about OEA staff attrition?

Attrition is defined as the gradual reduction of a workforce by employees leaving and not being replaced, rather than through layoffs. While there is some attrition each year in OSD, the attrition anticipated for the upcoming school year is not sufficient to address the projected deficit.

7.) How will classified support staff be impacted by reductions?

All schools and district departments will most likely be impacted by reductions. OSD will follow the Collective Bargaining Agreements (CBA) and will work with our labor leaders around potential reductions.

8.) When will the school board begin the process to authorize reductions?

The school board will decide whether or not to authorize district staff to proceed with a reduced educational plan for the 2019-20 SY in mid-April.

9.) Will class sizes be larger because of the reductions?

Given our projected budget deficit, class sizes will likely be larger across the district.

10.) How do recent proposed state budgets affect the OSD budget?

The governor’s proposed budget released in December would be helpful to the OSD. The House of Representatives and Senate have yet to weigh in on their own budget proposals. The legislative session will last at least 90 days and will finish at the end of April at the earliest. Given that timeline, and the potential for insufficient state funding, we must proceed with our reduction planning.


11.) Will job shares be allowed next year?

Job share assignments that meet the provisions of the contract (eg. medical leave) and existing job shares may be grandfathered.


12.) How will staff be placed in another building if that is necessary?

Staff will be offered positions by seniority and will be offered positions based on their endorsed area. If multiple positions are available, staff member may be able to choose assignments based on openings that match endorsement areas.


13.) Do classified staff have a seniority list?

Yes, all classified units have seniority lists that have been provided to the union. If you would like a copy of the list, please contact your union representative or the Human Resources Department.

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