$30 million in budget cuts coming to Tacoma schools next year. Public asked to share thoughts

Have thoughts about the budget cuts coming to Tacoma schools?

Now’s the time to share them.

Tacoma Public Schools leaders are touring schools to get feedback about next year’s budget.

Leaders say the district is facing a $30 million deficit for the 2019-20 school year.

“This year we decided to have listening tours around the district to get information on what the public thinks our budget should look like for next year,” school board president Karen Vialle said at a Feb. 14 meeting.

The deficit is due to a loss in local funding, district leaders said. After a years-long Supreme Court case decided the state underfunded basic education, changes in funding formulas capped Tacoma’s local levy funding at $38 million for 2019, rather than the $70 million approved by voters in 2018.

Tacoma leaders also forewarned budget cuts in September after they came to an agreement with teachers over pay, ending a week-long strike.

The first budget meeting is set for 6 p.m. Thursday in the Mount Tahoma High School Auditorium, 4634 S. 74th St. in Tacoma.

People will get two minutes to share what they’d like to see — or not see — in next year’s budget.

So far this year, the district has cut 43 administrative and central office support positions and made an additional $16 million in spending cuts.

A second budget study session is scheduled for 6 p.m. Thursday, March 21, at Wilson High School, 1202 N. Orchard St. in Tacoma.