School District plans for state funding cut

Three administrative positions have been cut as part of the savings plan for Walla Walla Public Schools.

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WALLA WALLA -- Walla Walla Public Schools is budgeting for an expected $1.2 million cut from the state for the upcoming school year.

The district has outlined a series of cost-saving moves, without making cuts to permanent staff and while maintaining an eight-percent reserve in anticipation of future financial instability.

A bulk of the savings will come from cutting three administrative positions in the upcoming school year. The district's technology director, a Walla Walla High School assistant principal position, and the district's plant facilities director position have all been cut.

Janis Barton, the district's current technology director, will be assigned to a new position for the coming new year. The technology director duties will be assumed by the district's assessment director, Ron Higgins.

Brett Cox, assistant principal at Walla Walla High School, will move to Garrison Middle School to fill the assistant principal position held by Josh Wolcott. Wolcott is taking over leadership of Edison Elementary next year in place of retiring Principal Nancy Withycombe.

Dan Johnson, the district's facilities support director, will take over the plant facilities director duties after Lowell Schneider retires.

In addition to the administrator cuts, the district has proposed losing one teaching position at Garrison Middle School through attrition; and to slim funding for staff professional development, school supplies and custodian extra time.

"Our continued focus for 2010-11 is to protect the classroom and the outstanding staff we have in place to do the work," Superintendent Rich Carter said in a statement. "This plan has limited the impact on district academic and extra-curricular programs and no permanent staff will lose their jobs. We are increasing our fund balance to protect the district's future interests in light of state revenue forecasts which indicate a continued economic downturn in the next biennium."

Maria P. Gonzalez can be reached at mariagonzalez@wwub.com or 526-8317.

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