State Proposed Budget Cuts on Education Could Affect Tri-CitiesPosted: Updated:
KENNEWICK, Wash.-- Public education could be at risk with proposed state budget cuts from the Senate, House and Governor.
Staff at the Washington Education Association say more than a billion dollars in cuts could look like this:
"It means there's going to be bigger class sizes, it means programs to children will be cut, it means teachers will be laid off," said Jan Fraley, President of the Washington Education Association in the Southeast.
And it's not just teachers and classrooms taking a hit.
"Transportation, food services, and a lot of different groups," said Fraley.
Richland's Superintendent says they're looking at cutting travel expenses, and supplies, before letting go of any of the 500 teachers employed in the district.
"We're optimistic, but until we get the real numbers we can't be sure," Dr. Jean Lane, Richland Superintendent.
In Kennewick the Superintendent says their district alone could be looking at a $4.5 to $8.5 million cut.
"When we have to make a choice of do we paint the building or do we put in a bus loop or do we keep the teacher, it's likely we're going to keep the teacher," said Dave Bond, the Kennewick Superintendent.
If any teachers are let go, both districts say they'll first look at those who are getting ready to retire or move away.
All three leaders agree the future of the state relies in education and its value.
"This is the one chance children have for a free public education," said Fraley.
Kennewick school leaders say their $68 million bond will be up again for voting on May 19th. They're hoping it passes this time to give some financial relief to the district.
By May 15th each district in the state is expected to give notice on the number of teachers that would be reduced, if any.