VPS budget survey results show desire by community to prioritize use of financial reserves

Cuts to administration also a popular choice of respondents

VANCOUVER — An online survey seeking community input on how to address a projected budget shortfall for Vancouver Public Schools (VPS) in 2019-20 shows most respondents favoring the use of the district’s ending fund balance along with reductions in central administration and support services.

From a list of choices, survey respondents overwhelmingly chose these top four budget solutions:

• One-time use of ending fund balance, or financial reserves ($3.75 million)

• 5 percent reduction in central office/support services budgets ($1.2 million)

• 15 percent reduction in central office administrative positions ($800,000)

• 50 percent reduction in travel for professional development ($400,000)

The district received 1,836 completed surveys. An invitation to take the survey was sent to district employees, families and community members. The results are posted online at https://vansd.org.


Graphic courtesy of Vancouver Public Schools. Click to view PDF.

In the survey, VPS requested that participants prioritize budget reductions to address the deficit. They were asked to select from a list of 15 possible solutions that add up to an $8 million funding gap.

“Clearly, survey respondents want to preserve direct services to students,” said Steve Webb, superintendent of VPS. “This feedback will help inform the final budget recommendations, which will be presented to the board on May 28 after review by a district advisory group.” Formal adoption of the budget will take place at the August 13 board meeting.

“Thanks to Senator Cleveland’s securing of $6.5 million in one-time levy equalization money for 2019-20, I’m optimistic that we’ll be able to present final recommendations to the board that minimize the impact on our classrooms and schools,” said Webb.

“Our challenge going forward will be to secure sustainable funding of more than $10 million for the 2020-21 school year to replace the $6.5 million of one-time state money (levy equalization) and $3.75 million of one-time local money (fund balance),” said Webb. “Otherwise, we’ll be right back here a year from now, with fewer options to consider.”

Information provided by Vancouver School District.

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