February 2019 Update

February 2019

Exciting Updates and Budget Challenges

Dear NKSD community, 

The new year brings some exciting work and changes to NKSD, and it also presents some challenges as we begin our work on the coming school year’s budget. I would like to take this opportunity to update you on the work we are doing in 2019. The three areas I will talk about include our Strategic Plan, New NKSD Programs, and the budget for 2019-2020. 

Strategic Plan 

hand holding a camera lens As mentioned previously, we are embarking on a journey to create a new strategic plan for NKSD. This work provides us with an opportunity to carefully consider how we do what we do in NKSD.  

We have a talented group of students, staff, faculty, parents, and community members participating on our “Core Planning Team”. This group of individuals will identify student outcomes, the pathways by which we achieve those outcomes, and the systems and structures we need to do all of this important work. Furthermore, we have many of our city, county, and civic leaders coming together to participate in our “Alignment Team,” which will ensure the plan is not just meeting the needs of NKSD, but that it meets the needs of our broader community as well.  

Updates on this work will be shared with you along the way. In the meantime, please mark down March 13th at 6pm at the NKHS Commons and March 14th at 6pm at the Kingston HS Commons. On these dates we will be hosting community forums, open to all residents of NKSD, so that we can listen to your input on the strategic plan and the future of NKSD. I hope you will join us for these conversations! Again, we will strive to keep you updated with the work throughout the spring.  

Signature Programs and FIRST Robotics 

four students playing with robotIn NKSD, we believe that every student is an individual with a unique learning style, personality, passion, and talent. An exciting development for this year is that we are introducing programming to provide more diverse learning opportunities to meet student needs called Signature Programs.  

One of the new offerings is a Robotics Academy that will be hosted at Kingston Middle School. The 21st century workforce has a high demand for STEM-related, high-tech workers and we are stepping up to meet this need. This program will provide integrated, hands-on learning in coding, programming, mechanical/design engineering, math and science. All incoming 6th and 7th grade students can apply to participate in this program. This program is funded by generous grant support and from designated CTE funding.  

Related to this is the introduction of FIRST Robotics in NKSD. The program will be housed at KHS, but will be open to all interested high school students. FIRST Robotics will be part of the Engineering Design CTE classes, so students with a strong interest in robotics and engineering will be able to sign up for the class as part of their daily schedule. Furthermore, FIRST will have an after-school club component that is open to all students. We are able to fund this program from CTE-designated funds and from grants and donations to the school district. 

The Budget for 2019-2020 

​​​​​​​graphs and charts In the midst of all of this exciting work, we once again face significant budgetary challenges in NKSD. You may have heard that the state legislature “fixed” education funding, and that all districts are now fully funded. The reality is that the state legislature’s “fix” via the McCleary solution created winners and losers when it comes to appropriation of revenue. Here in NKSD, it means that we are facing a $4 million shortfall in revenue as we look at the 2019-2020 school year.  

It is confusing for people because there was a significant increase in state dollars to fund public education, and we saw that increase here in NKSD. Unfortunately, the increased revenue from the state was offset by a reduction in our local levy authority. You may recall that when we talked about our Educational Program & Operations (EP&O) levy last year, we explained that moving forward, we would be capped at $1.50/$1000 of assessed value (compared to prior collections of $2.86/$1000). The increased funding from the state did not offset the loss of revenue due to the levy cap, which means that overall, our revenue is decreasing.   

There was also a significant change in how NKSD receives funding for teacher compensation. In NKSD, we benefit from having a very experienced cadre of teachers. Regrettably, the state no longer recognizes that experience when they fund us for educators. In prior years, the state funded teacher salaries on a schedule that factored in teacher experience and education. This schedule generated monies for NKSD based on where the teacher was placed on the schedule. Now, we receive a flat dollar amount per teacher, regardless of their experience and/or educational level. Additionally, the labor market for teachers has become much more competitive in our region. When we have a highly experienced group of faculty whom we wish to retain, these changes add to the challenges we face with our budget.  

As we begin the process of analyzing expenditures and developing plans to address this shortfall, we will be reaching out to the community to obtain your input and feedback. These opportunities will be publicized both in local media and on our website, nkschools.org.  

I remain steadfast in my belief that we do the most important work possible here in NKSD, which is growing the leaders of tomorrow. Doing so in an unstable and unpredictable financial environment makes that journey more difficult, but I believe that we will continue to provide exemplary learning opportunities for our students despite these challenges. The school board and I will continue to monitor the legislative process and update you along the way. Simultaneous to that, we will continue to update you on the program adjustments and reductions that will be needed to address the impending budgetary shortfall in 2019-2020.   

The strategic plan provides us with an opportunity to consider what is most important in our work, and the budget will necessitate that we focus tightly on those priorities. We remain grateful for our community’s strong support of our schools. Our door is open to you should you have questions or if you would like more information on anything discussed in this update.  

In partnership,

Dr. Laurynn Evans


North Kitsap School District