After reading the comments to the last post, I would like to share why I believe that we were able to make the decisions that we have while most other districts are not comfortable doing so at this time. Many of those around us are informing far more teachers that they will not be returning while creating the expectation for some that they will be back after the district has more time to figure out the budget situation more closely. They are not comfortable with making decisions on the budget until OSPI comes out with the final budget documents sometime in May.
That is the key; being comfortable with projecting the revenue once the state has made decisions on the final budget. We did this in a very short period of time for both years of the biennium, something others either won’t or can’t do. Why can we while others don’t? The main answer is we have Lori Cloud and others don’t. In the absence of someone with knowledge and the willingness to go out on the limb by making early projections, a district must wait until they have the budget documents to make revenue projections accurate enough to make these tough decisions we now face.
Lori is a CPA who came to us with no public school experience. In a short period of time she learned the complexities of public school accounting and the nuances that are necessary to master the complex formulas that drive revenue from the local, state, and federal levels to districts. She has created her own tables to replicate what OSPI does once their staff understands what the legislature has done with the budget. Because of this, we are able to make projections in a short period of time by using Lori’s tables. This is why we are now bringing staff back while most others are still trying to figure out how many to RIF and why we didn’t need to RIF many more than was necessary.
Making these projections is difficult and not without risk especially trying to project out two years. We made some difficult choices based on these projections only because of the confidence that we have in Lori’s experience in being able to make sense of the complex formulas in a short period of time. Next time you see her, thank her for this ability and for the risk taking necessary to make these projections. Once again, we stand out in another area of public school operations because of the expertise of our staff. This time it is Lori.