Complications of $7 Million Reduction and Budget Cuts Throughout CK Schools

The $7 Million funding reduction reduces activities, programs, and jobs in the Central Kitsap School District. * As of May 8, 2024, library clerks have been reinstated to their original positions for the 2024-2025 school year.
Photo of books on CKHS library book shelf in Biography section.
Photo of books on CKHS library book shelf in Biography section.
Amanda Repine
Complications of the Budget Cuts and What the Future of CKSD Has in Store

CKSD is currently undergoing a $7 million budget reduction process as a result of slowed school enrollment and the impending end of the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Release (ESSER) funds provided by the state for the district to cover expenses during the COVID-19 pandemic. This is the last year the ESSER funds are supporting the district’s 19 schools. The programs that the schools use to welcome incoming 6th grade students at the middle school and incoming freshman at the high school, WEB and LINK Crew are being removed.

“Our district is making a $7 million reduction due to declining enrollment and discontinued ESSER funds,” said Denise Tracey, President of CKSD’s Board of Directors. “Most of our district’s revenue comes from state funding that is directly tied to student enrollment. When student enrollment declines, so does our state funding. If our district didn’t move forward with these reductions, our expenses would quickly outpace our revenue.”

In addition to the reduction of programs like AVID, WEB, and LINK Crew, the district is also eliminating several job positions. However, employees will not be removed in the form of layoffs or forced leave; instead, these staff will be reassigned to alternative positions within the school district in order to mitigate the loss of labor throughout the district. For example, the closing of the Jenne-Wright Administration Center has resulted in the loss of 15 job positions, and these staff are being relocated to other jobs within the district for the 2024-2025 school year. 

“District leadership worked hard to strategize budget reductions with the least direct impact to students as possible,” said Tracey. “Our district must balance providing as many supports as possible to our students, while also planning for the long term and keeping our district financially healthy. District administration and the board recognize that these reductions will impact students, as well as staff, and district leadership continues to work hard to minimize and mitigate these impacts.”

The main priority of the district is to provide thorough and safe learning opportunities and environments. The CKSD is uncertain if any of these programs or jobs will ever come back to our district. To find more information on the budget cuts and reductions, visit the CKSD Budget Cuts Page.

“Working through budget reductions is hard, heavy, and emotional,” said Tracey. “While the board is relieved that the $7 million in budget reductions will not result in a lay-off or reduction in force, the board also recognizes that these budget reductions have very real and profound impacts for not only those staff whose positions are directly affected, but also for all of our students and staff. Nothing about these budget reductions is easy, and while our district administration has worked hard to reduce the direct impacts on students, they and the board know that students will be affected with these decisions. Finally, I want to also recognize that our district is not alone in these financial challenges. School districts across the state are making the same types of difficult decisions to address declining enrollment and the loss of ESSER funds.”

Photo of Central Kitsap High School bookshelf isle in library.
A New Chapter for CKHS Library and Libraries in the District

Many areas in the CKSD have been struck by budget cut complications, with one of the biggest being the support of the CKHS library and surrounding libraries in CKSD. Due to the recent budget cuts, the district has been forced to remove library clerks in libraries. However, this does not mean that the district will be performing layoffs. As a result of this setback, library clerks, unless choosing to retire, are given the option to switch over to paraeducators throughout the 19 schools in the district.

“Other reductions include eliminating 15 positions at the district office and staffing model adjustments, which impacted library clerk positions,” said Denise Tracey. “The district is making these reductions through attrition, which means as people leave or retire, those positions won’t always be replaced. Although some employees have been reassigned, the district has not made any layoffs.”

One of the ways this negatively affects the student body is the lack of availability and support the library will bring to students in the school. The CKHS library will no longer be available at all times, if support is needed elsewhere in the school, the librarian will need to shut down the library temporarily and tech support may not be fixed right away. 

“I haven’t thought about whether or not there are any positives, it’s largely negative,” said Steve Trunkey. “Because it means by definition, it will mean that every day, there will be periods of time that we have to close the doors and not be open. And I’ve been in the library programs at all three levels; elementary, middle and high school and that’s one of the things that I’ve always worked hard at is making sure that we’re open all day throughout the day. Always ready to serve the students and the staff with their needs. So this is a change that the district has made. Not that we wanted it. But it means that we cannot deliver the same level of service that we think it’s right.”

Another anecdote to the issue at hand is that the librarian will now be attached to the workload of two other people along with his current role in the upcoming years. This can cause things in the library to run slower and not as smooth, due to the fact that there will only be one person running the entire area; with no support like there has been in past years. 


“The way that our library functions, he serves as our technology person,” said Tracy Kohlbeck. “So some [schools] might not have a librarian but they have a technologist that’s in their library. The way that our district has so far created that resource for the teachers and the substitutes and people that come in with technology needs, is to have a librarian do that. Which makes our job more [helpful], so when he [Mr. Trunkey] is gone, we’re here.”

Libraries affect CKSD schools way more than one might think through the benefits of having research and free books right at your fingertips, as well as the technological support that a school needs now that most of the work students do is located online. Without  functioning libraries, schools in the district could possibly struggle to run, considering the ample resources and contributions the library offers the school. 

“I started working in the library in 1999 and since that time, I’ve always been told and strongly felt that the library was the heart of every school,” said Nichole Fischer. “And by taking the library clerks out of the library and forcing the librarians to do twice as much, two and a half times as much work. The heart of the school is now gonna be gutted. It’s not going to be as available as it has been in the past, because one person can’t do the job of two and a half people.”

* Since the publication of this article and as of May 8, 2024, CKSD has reversed the decision to eliminate library clerk positions, reinstating library clerks to their initial role.

Photo of Central Kitsap High School bookshelf isle in library. (Amanda Repine)
Student Program AVID in District Schools is Cut from Curriculum

The Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) program is one of several programs currently on the road to being removed due to the $7 million reduction process occurring throughout the district. The program provides resources to students to prepare them for college  and life after high school, varying from practicing college admission essay writing to guidance on how to manage finances. The program will be removed due to the lack of available financial support from the school. Due to the fact that AVID is not a program the district made but is instead a program the district pays for, similarly to programs like WEB/LINK that are outside the district, can easily accommodate the budget cuts needed because the district can choose to no longer pay to provide the programs.

“I started [the class] at the beginning of the year,” said Kaity Williams. “It’s been beneficial and good for me to be able to use my program to uplift my grades quicker than normal.”

The class has more to it than just preparing for life after high school; it has lessons that other classes don’t provide for students that can help students acquire a better learning experience and process. These lessons include strategic organization and well planned note taking skills, so that students can keep their learning organized and destined for success throughout school. The class provides thorough teaching on study skills as well, this way students can spend less time outside of school working on homework, and be able to take time to refresh and relax.

“Well we won’t be able to do everything that we do in the class because it will be removed and replaced with a different class,” said Arianna Rodriguez. “I’m sad that the class is leaving because I was hoping to do it next year, because we learn a lot in this class.”

Though AVID has its many benefits, though this class may not be beneficial for everyone and qualifications are required, as the program has its target group of students it is designed to benefit. AVID takes average students on the academic level and places them into advanced classes; it also helps minority and low-income students,, as well as students who will be the first in their family to attend college, with their chances of attending college. The program additionally targets students who meet in the middle of the grade scale, at around B to C and even D level grade averages in school, and students who intend to work hard to achieve their goals.

“I’ve only been in this program for one year, and I think it’s beneficial because it looks good on a transcript,” said Maya Alexis Staples. “It helps you learn a lot of valuable things, like money management and they don’t really teach that in other classes, and even more small things, such as writing a professional email, colleges, applications, and so on. I think that you will benefit from this class, it seems boring but when you’re learning stuff, you save that in your head for when you need it in the future. I think the class should be given more of a chance, a lot of people have judged it just for the name, thinking the class is essays and reading. Don’t judge the class by the cover and give it a chance.”

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