Local educators anxious about state budget - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Local educators anxious about state budget

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RICHLAND, WA - As another day passes without a state budget, educators in our area are getting nervous about what it could mean for them and their students.

Reporter Mackenzie Allen spoke with Richland Superintendent Dr. Rick Schulte to get his take.

In all his years working in education, Dr. Schulte told her this budget process is one of the worst messes he's ever seen.

In a normal year, school districts would have finalized their budgets about a month ago. But without a state budget, they can't even start working on one. As it stands now, it might not be until January or February that local districts are able to finalize their budgets.

Schulte says the Richland School District will try to make budget challenges as invisible to kids and parents as possible, but he acknowledges they can only do so much.

As for now, they will likely start the school year without being able to buy and budget for the things they need.

"We are putting on hold anything that we can easily put on hold," Dr. Schulte explained. "So the purchase of instructional materials, the purchase of supplies and equipment, scheduling things like professional development, travel, anything that can be delayed, we will be delaying it."

Another big concern? 

Until the state passes a budget, districts across the state won't know if they can move forward with capitol projects.

In Richland, that means construction to the Richland High School auditorium, as well as the replacement elementary for Tapteal and Badger. Projects voters have already approved an order to give kids access to updated facilities and reduce overcrowding.