The Toppenish School District released information Monday, April 22nd, indicating they are struggling with some issues facing a number of districts across the state.

  District facing an $8.6 million dollar shortfall

John Schieche, Interim Superintendent of the District, released information detailing the issues facing their schools.

Multiple factors have led up to the shortfall, according to Schieche:

"First, grant funding expected to pay for the new state-of-the art preschool did not come through, requiring the District to dip into funding reserves to make up the $5M shortfall. Added to that, student enrollment has still not rebounded following COVID19. Across the state, public school enrollment, a significant factor in determining the state funding for schools, is still down nearly 6%."

He also said Toppenish School District (TSD) has "lost" 250 Alternative Learning Education (ALE) Students who were studying online which also reduced student-related funding. It was not specified if they left the District or dropped out, or are pursuing other alternative education platforms.

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Also, Toppenish property values have risen, but that reduces levy equalization funds provided by the state.

 District looking at staff cuts

The first step, he said, was to look at how many workers TSD is losing through attrition, either retirements or workers leaving the District, and if those positions could remain unfilled.  He also said:

"Overall, the District will be reducing salaries and benefits for all central office administrators and cutting 2 central office administrative positions. The District will also be reducing salaries and benefits for all school and department administrative staff. The district is reducing 3 school administrative positions, 10 teacher positions, 2 graduation specialists, 7 classified staff positions and 1 supervisor. Another 24 positions were reduced through retirements or resignations."

Schieche said the TSD welcomes questions and input from the community, the next school board meeting will be Tuesday, April 23rd, from 7-9 PM at the District office.


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