Faced with a $1.37 million deficit, a budget advisory committee in the Riverview School District is recommending cuts across the board...

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Faced with a $1.37 million deficit, a budget advisory committee in the Riverview School District is recommending cuts across the board, from teaching positions to materials in the classroom.

The committee also offered several strategies for bringing in money for the 2005-06 school year. Those strategies, which would raise about $210,000, range from raising the price of school lunches to increasing activity fees at the secondary level.

The School Board is to review the recommendations in a study session next week. The district covered its deficit this year with its reserves. But after several years of shaving expenses, Riverview officials said they needed to make more-serious sacrifices to keep quality in the classroom over the long term. The $1.37 million deficit represents about 5.7 percent of the district’s annual budget.

Districts across the state face similar budget problems as they struggle with the rising cost of utilities and new mandates from the state and federal governments, such as the Washington Assessment of Student Learning test and the federal No Child Left Behind Act.

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Riverview’s budget advisory committee has been working since September, with representatives from the PTA, the Duvall Chamber of Commerce, the teachers union and the district administration.

Teresa O’Shea, chairwoman of the committee, said members pored over more than 20 pages of ideas and suggestions from within the district and beyond.

Because most of the district’s budget goes to salaries, some staff cuts were inevitable, she said. The hope is that the cuts can be achieved through attrition.

“It was one of the most difficult things that I personally had to go through in my life,” said O’Shea, a science teacher at Tolt Middle School. “I’m still exhausted.”

The committee recommended cutting three teaching positions at the secondary level; cutting hours for educational assistants and custodians across the district; scaling back on classroom supplies and curriculum materials; and trimming facilities costs by watering fields less, canceling summer maintenance crews and turning computers off at night.

School lunches would increase by 25 cents, and activity fees would jump to $55 from $30 at the middle-school level and to $75 from $35 at the high-school level.

“It’s a long list,” said John Nugent, director of business and operations for the district, who is on the committee. “No item was too small to be considered.”

Schools Superintendent Conrad Robertson is expected to present his proposed 2005-06 budget to the School Board at the end of May.

Cara Solomon: 206-464-2024 or csolomon@seattletimes.com