Woodland Public Schools identifies $3 million in cuts if replacement levy fails April election

Woodland High School
Woodland High School

In addition to budget reductions to nearly every program district-wide, district officials believe the failure to replace the existing levy will result in dozens of school employees losing their jobs

Woodland Public Schools’ Board of Directors identified $3,000,000 in cuts to educational programs and services that must be made if the community doesn’t approve the district’s replacement Educational Programs and Operations (EP&O) levy on the ballot for April during a board workshop on Thursday (March 9). 

In addition to budget reductions to nearly every program district-wide, the failure to replace the existing levy will result in dozens of school employees losing their jobs. “The school district has a long tradition of maintaining fiscal responsibility with any levy funds we request from the community,” Superintendent Michael Green instructed the board. “There is no cut on the list that won’t substantially hurt student education in our community.”

Green pointed out that the lack of a replacement levy will have dire, severe, and direct effects on student learning district-wide, “These cuts will reduce staff and drastically hamper efforts to maintain the county-leading growth in student learning our district has enjoyed in recent years.”

Woodland High School Stadium
Woodland High School Stadium

Over the course of more than three hours, board members scrutinized every program to develop the following list of program reductions and eliminations that will happen for the 2023-24 school year if the community doesn’t pass the replacement levy on April 25:

Learning Reductions

  • Halt expansion of Dual Language Program: The incredibly successful Dual Language Program, which permits students to develop bilingual skills in English and Spanish starting in kindergarten will not be able to expand to the middle school.
     
  • Halt Speech Language Pathology Expansion: Despite the increasing enrollment of students with special needs, specifically in Woodland Public Schools, expansion of the Speech Language Pathology (SLP) support will be halted indefinitely.
     
  • Pause Curriculum Cycle: Curricula will not be replaced or updated. This pause will remain in place indefinitely until funds can be appropriated to restart the curriculum cycle.
     
  • Eliminate 1:1 technology for elementary school students (K-4): Elementary students will no longer have access to Chromebooks outside of specific classroom projects.
     
  • Eliminate Summer School for K-8: Students outside of high school will no longer have the opportunity to recover lost credits. Students who fail classes will need to repeat classes and/or grade levels to recover lost credits.
     
  • Eliminate Jump Start / Transitional Kindergarten: Introduced in 2022, Jump Start Kindergarten offered families the opportunity to have children transition into school attendance by beginning at age 4. The program will be eliminated without levy funding.
     
  • Eliminate Translator Position: With no levy funding, the district can no longer maintain an on-site translator position. While translation services may be enlisted on an as-needed basis, Woodland’s growing multilingual population will no longer have access to a dedicated native speaker in the district.
     
  • Eliminate Teaching Coaches at the Secondary Level: While studies have shown direct links between teacher coaching and improved student learning, the failure of the levy will leave the Board of Directors with no choice but to eliminate all teaching coaches at the secondary level.
     
  • Eliminate Deans of Students at the Elementary Level: Deans of Students serve the vital roles of supporting positive student behavior reducing truancy, improve school security, and enabling principals to focus on improving student learning school-wide. Unfortunately, the lack of levy funding means this critical role will be eliminated at the district’s elementary schools.
     
  • Reduce Assistant Superintendent position: The Assistant Superintendent currently provides critical support for teaching and learning, Career & Technical Education, district-wide teacher coaching, and a myriad of other vital roles. As a result of the lack of levy funding, the position will be eliminated.
     
  • Eliminate school-based classified staffing: Classified staff including recess aides, library support, copy center assistants, and classroom support will be eliminated.
     
  • Eliminate District-level Secretarial Staff: District support staff are responsible for managing family and community requests and needs. Without levy funding, district secretarial staff will be eliminated until additional funds can be appropriated.
     
  • Pause introduction of AVID Learning System at high school: While high school teachers and staff have been trained and prepared to implement the innovative and cutting-edge AVID Learning System to improve student learning at the high school level, this introduction must be paused indefinitely without levy funding support.
     
  • Reduce food service staff: Food service staff will be reduced in order to accommodate the lack of funding.
     
  • Eliminate technology support staff: Technology repairs and installations will be delayed district-wide, impacting student learning in classrooms.
     
  • Halt technology purchases: No new technology purchases will be made outside of replacement classroom technology.
     
  • Reduce communications support: While ongoing communication between the schools and the community was identified as a critical need, the Board of Directors must reduce communications support by half to manage the lack of levy funding. A substantial reduction in communications between the district, schools, parents, families, and the community must be made until funds can be appropriated. 

Facilities Reductions

  • Halt Tier II/III School Safety and Security Improvements: Plans for security and safety improvements made district-wide will be halted. While Tier I security improvements have been made, the remainder of the district’s security improvement plan will be halted indefinitely.
     
  • Eliminate Maintenance and Custodial Positions: Drastic cuts to maintenance and custodial staff will result in facilities maintenance prioritized to maintain minimal critical functions. Classroom cleaning will be delayed to weekly, at most, with teachers and other classified staff responsible for many custodial duties.
     
  • Halt Roof Replacement at Woodland Middle School: The middle school roof is in a state of disrepair that will require the use of temporary tarps on weakened areas to prevent rainwater and the elements from damaging the internals of the facility.
     
  • Halt Improvements to 5th Street: Scheduled safety improvements, repairs and maintenance will be delayed indefinitely until funds are acquired.

Extracurricular Reductions

  • Eliminate High School Athletic Teams: All non-Varsity/Junior Varsity athletics at the high school level will be eliminated.
     
  • Eliminate Middle School Athletics: All organized middle school athletics will be eliminated with only intramural teams remaining.
     
  • Eliminate transportation for athletics: Student athletes and teams will be responsible for arranging their own transportation to and from non-home games.
     
  • Reduce Athletic Director position by 40%: Athletic Director position will be reduced to 0.6 FTE, resulting in less support provided for remaining athletics.
     
  • Increase WCC/YCC fees to fully cover costs: The school district currently provides before and after school childcare at a substantially lower cost. Since this subsidy was funded by the local levy, all childcare support will be charged at actual costs and will require a substantial increase in fees for any families using these services.

Community Use Reductions 

  • Charge Actual Cost for Community Use of Facilities: With significant cuts to district facilities maintenance staff, community use of facilities for free or at reduced costs will no longer be feasible. Community use fees will be increased dramatically for all community athletics and other uses including costs for utilities, custodial staffing, security, maintenance, repairs, and any additional fees.

Since the school’s budget year (September-August) does not run concurrent with the calendar year, the half-year of levy funding received in 2023 will be distributed throughout the 2023-2024 school year, resulting in the need for $3,000,000 in cuts instead of $5,000,000 for 2023-2024. If the replacement levy fails to pass in April, the board will need to cut an additional $3,000,000 in programs and services from the 2024-25 school year budget in addition to the cuts listed above to stay within the funding requirements for the district. 

“The Board understands that these are unprecedented times and many of our families are under significant economic stress, however, if the community chooses not to pass the replacement levy, our schools will not be able to continue to provide the same high-quality educational opportunities which have led to our district seeing the strongest student performance growth in both Clark and Cowlitz counties,” said Superintendent Green. “Woodland has a long tradition of supporting and valuing the education we provide our community’s children, and we hope the voters will continue that tradition this April.”

The special election for Woodland Public Schools’ replacement levy is April 25, with ballots mailed to registered voters beginning April 7. Community members can register to vote anytime up until April 18 online at: https://voter.votewa.gov/WhereToVote.aspx and in-person at elections offices until election day on April 25. 

Community members unable to register online can contact their respective counties’ election offices:

Cowlitz County Election Office​: (360) 577-3005​

Clark County Election Office​: (564) 397-2345​

For more information about Woodland Public Schools’ replacement levy, visit the district’s website at: https://www.woodlandschools.org/levy or call the district office at (360) 841-2700.

Information provided by Woodland School District.


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7 Comments

  1. Susan

    Hey Woodland, Washougal, and Evergreen school districts…I’ll fix the majority of your budget woes and won’t charge you a nickel. Here goes…

    Unless it has to do with reading, writing, math, science, or history… then it very likely needs to be deleted from the budget.

    Yep, this means 100% of sports and all the sports-support positions get dropped. Yep, all the after-school band and drama and dance, etc. etc…. all get dropped. Yep, busses are kept for before- and after-school transportation, but nothing else. Yep, some secretaries need to go. Yep, some administrators need to go. Yep, some of the school nurses need to go.

    Now, before you get up on your high horse and tell me that kids can’t survive without basketball, consider this… Evergreen, Washougal, and Woodland all seem to be singing the same song when they claim “we must have everything or the kids will suffer.”

    Taxpayers are fed up with ever-increasing tax rates. Taxpayers (homeowners) are suffering and are making decisions on a daily basis as to what gets trimmed… is it the electric bill or the grocery bill; the grocery bill or the gasoline bill?

    School districts, on the other hand, are making no cutbacks and then play this game of “we must have more of everything” and then attempt to guilt voters if they don’t agree.

    Voters (taxpayers/homeowners) are voting with their pocketbooks. Voters are having to cut back on expenses, determining what are the real necessities and what can be done without. So why aren’t school districts cutting back on non-essential services and focusing on the real necessities?

    School districts are NOT determining priorities; school districts are NOT making even modest sacrifices for the overall good of the district. It’s time they learn their lesson that it’s better to do without “some of the goodies” than it is to do without “all of the goodies.”

    Reply

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