Dear Mercer Island Community,
There exists confusion regarding the Mercer Island School District’s finances, enrollment, and academic standards. I would like to provide an accurate written outline of the state of the District. My hope is that this letter creates clarity for our community.
As part of a continuing state-wide trend, enrollment has come in below projections for a second consecutive year. Data collected from families who withdrew indicates that 62.7% moved out of the district boundaries; 15.9% went to private schools; 3.6% chose homeschool; 2.6% chose virtual school; and 15.3% did not respond.
While the District’s reserves will be reduced again this year, the District will not be insolvent. After the 2020-21 year-end report is finalized (this November), the District estimates a beginning reserve amount of approximately $5 million or 7% for the 2021-22 year. Historically, the District spends 95% of its Board-approved budget authority. The remaining 5% that will likely not be expended constitutes about $1.7 – $2 million. While the adopted 2021-2022 budget shows the District’s reserves being depleted by $5.2 million, at this time we believe this reduction in reserves will be closer to $3 million. Thus, the District estimates that its 2021-22 ending reserve will be approximately $2 million.
The District will continue to look at curtailing spending while still providing quality educational opportunities. The District will have more concrete projections at the November and December 2021 Board meetings.
The District is not discontinuing any services to our students. Advanced Placement, honors classes, and Highly Capable services continue to be available for our students. Instead, the District continues to look at providing services in an inclusive manner.
For more information, I encourage community members to watch the recent School Board meetings, available on the District website.
Donna Colosky, MISD Superintendent