West Valley pushes to restore all-day kindergarten following budget cuts

WEST VALLEY, Wash. -- KIMA is following up on budget issues in the West Valley School District after you contacted us about a lack of textbooks at the Junior High School.

One mother said her daughter was sent home to do homework without a book.

We learned West Valley had a cut of half-a-million dollars in money it normally gets from the state.

The slash in the budget is blamed on the way the state funds its schools; higher property taxes meant less money kicked in for the West Valley School District this year.

Sue Ann Melone's daughter is a 7th grader at West Valley Junior High.
She received surprising news at this year's Open House.

"They said they didn't have enough textbooks for all the children to have one, so they were going to make it available online," said Melone.

Teachers said they were dealing with less money and more students in their classrooms.

Many open teaching and staff positions were not filled this year. The district said it had to be more efficient in light of a slight drop in enrollment.

Millions have been cut from West Valley School District's budget over the last five years.

It's meant cuts to sports programs and even the elimination of free all-day kindergarten.

"The board and superintendent share the same goal; we believe in trying to do what we can to restore full day kindergarten," said West Valley Superintendent Dr. Mike Brophy.

The district gained some ground on that issue this year.

Action News learned six part time teachers were hired for each of the district's elementary schools.

As a result, under-performing students are now given the option to attend extended day kindergarten.

The rest of the kids still have the option to pay for the second half of the day.

Since voters failed to pass levies requested by the district, West Valley says it's had to make do with what it has.

Sue Anne voted in favor of the last levy, but says she sees both sides.

"Some of my friends are readers and they're saying yeah, we need money. And, other people are saying the money is not spent wisely," said Melone.

The West Valley School District said it recently did a book count and found there were spare textbooks not being used.

Those will be distributed to students.