School Board closing in on budget for coming year

With $2.1 million in reductions made earlier in the year, the Enumclaw School Board took a look at the final 2009-10 budget at its July 20 regular meeting.

The board will host a public hearing at its Aug. 17 meeting and expects to adopt the budget later that evening.

Superintendent Mike Nelson said this year’s budget has been nearly a year-long process and district leaders are already starting to look at next year’s numbers.

The district is looking at a $43.7 million general fund budget.

Randy Stocker, district business manager, reviewed the document and the 2008-09 budget with the board. He said the district will come in under the projected 2008-09 $2.1 million deficit and is hoping the same holds true for the 2009-10 projection of a $1.7 deficit. He said monitoring and responsible spending has positioned the district with reserves for the coming year, which helped retain staff.

The district hasn’t had to dip deeply into its reserves like other districts.

The district expects 70 fewer students than in 2008-09, but has prepared for those numbers so they were not a budget issue. Stocker said the district will continue to make adjustments to cover declining enrollment for 2009-10. District leaders also see the opening of the Muckleshoot Tribal School as a bonus. The tribal school, which falls under the district’s umbrella through an interlocal agreement and sees some funding filter into Enumclaw’s coffers, is expecting a larger student population than in the past.

Stocker noted the district will receive $564,000 in stimulus dollars which can be used to help cover losses in state Initiative 728 funds. The district has experienced a loss of $2 million in I-728 money, which represents approximately 22 staff members attached to its full-day kindergarten program.

The district will also receive $118,000 in federal Title One money and $900,000 in IDEA, special education dollars, but those dollars have strings attached and the totals are spread through the 2009-10 and 2010-11 school years.

Stocker said the district will continue to monitor state action and use federal stimulus dollars to fill where it can. Those funds, Stocker said, come with a number of stipulations.

The district also made room in the budget for another 15 percent increase in fuel costs. Stocker said it’s hard to guess what those numbers might eventually be. The 2008-09 budget was based on a 22 percent figure and for a while prices were in that ballpark, then dropped off and are now rising again.

Property values could also play a roll as well and are being monitored.

“We collect about $8 million,” Supervisor of Business Services Bonnie Walkup said, referring to the portion of property taxes that flows into Enumclaw schools. “Ten percent of that (should property valuations fall) would be significant.”

She said the district will notice in the spring if lower valuations will impact the budget.

“Typically we don’t collect all our taxes anyway, about 96 to 97 percent,” she said, and that figure, too, is factored into budget preparation.

In other business, the board:

• hired band teacher Leonardo Altamiranda for Enumclaw Middle School and Sunrise Elementary School.

• approved a leave of absence rehire for Southwood Elementary School teacher Kimberly Stone.

• approved a partial leave of absence for Sunrise teacher Desiree Gibb.

• rehired transportation paraeducator Sarah Walthers.

• heard from two parents who requested an audit of the EHS FFA program. They told the board they’ve gone through the administrative channels and are not satisfied with the answers they’ve received for certain fund expenditures.

• agreed to changes in the district’s contract with the Public School Employees union. The changes centered around paraeducator seniority and language regarding wages for substitutes or other assignments.

• accepted donations of $1,072 from Arts Alive!, from the Music Factor Project’s Jamie Laval fundraiser, to Southwood Elementary School Magic Strings program, the Enumclaw Middle School music program, the Thunder Mountain Middle School program and the Enumclaw High Middle School program; $628 from the Sunrise PTA to Sunrise Elementary for grade-level enhancements; $2,928 from the Sunrise PTA to Sunrise Elementary to purchase two document camera bundles and a document camera; and three $1,500 grants from the Muckleshoot Tribe to Black Diamond and Sunrise elementaries and Thunder Mountain.

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