April 21, 2023
Dear Northshore Families and Secondary Students:
I am committed to transparency with our staff, families, and students as we work to balance our budget for 2023-24. As I have previously shared, Northshore has a projected $21 to 22 million dollar shortfall for next school year. Per state law we are required to submit a balanced budget. This means that either we need to generate additional revenue - typically through increased student enrollment or new state funding - or reduce our expenses.
The state’s legislative session is scheduled to close on Sunday, April 23, 2023. Early next week we will know more about the new revenues, if any, that Northshore will receive. As I have mentioned before, next year we anticipate another loss of student enrollment, so can’t depend on additional funding from this source.
This means we are preparing for multiple scenarios - including the reduction of staff positions. Eighty-three percent of our budget is associated with staff. One of our guiding budget reduction principles is to keep cuts as far away from classrooms as possible. This doesn’t mean there won't be any school-based reductions, but they will be limited as many of our reductions will be made at the Administrative Center. As an example, within my cabinet I will be combining positions and not filling positions left vacant because of retirements. It will be a hard and challenging process.
I’m sharing these details with you because, after consulting with legal counsel, this coming Monday, April 24 we will present a Reduction in Force (RIF) resolution to the School Board. Our legal counsel has recommended that any reduction in staff, including cabinet and non-represented positions, are approved by the School Board. This is to ensure transparency and strong oversight of our next steps.
The resolution will be posted in Board Docs this evening, April 21, and will include the title of the positions that will be eliminated. Individuals that are affected by the position reduction have already been informed. The District must now follow the applicable contract agreements with our labor partners to make final staffing decisions for 2023-24. Human Resources will be working through this process as quickly as possible.
Because we don’t yet know what our state funding levels are for 2023-24, we have also developed a restoration plan. Any new state funding, above predicted levels, could be used to bring back positions closest to our students first.
The Reduction in Force is one step in the budget development process. Budget work will continue through the spring and the Board will take action on our final 2023-24 budget in July 2023.
As a reminder, the Communications Department has launched a 2023-24 Budget Development webpage that includes a Frequently Asked Question (FAQ) section. The webpage also includes a video of the budget development presentation and an opportunity to submit comments and questions. The budget webpage will continue to be updated with common questions and responses.
Finally, I want to recognize that any staff reduction - whether it is at the Administrative Center, Support Services, Transportation, or a school position - is difficult. Especially for the individual affected by job loss or reassignment. It is also challenging for colleagues. Northshore is an incredible community. We care for each other and any reassignment or job loss impacts all of us. As challenging as these next couple weeks will be, I am confident we can navigate this situation with grace and care.