Budget sails through School Board, gets OK without a hitch

There was so much discussion leading up to the Enumclaw School District’s 2011-12 budget that no one felt obligated to speak more to the subject at the school board’s public hearing, except Tim Madden.

“I’ve said this before, it’s a very tight budget. It’s a very different budget,” the Enumclaw School District business manager told the board and audience during his brief presentation Aug. 15.

The board approved the $43.2 million budget, which includes reductions in the way of $1.2 million. Reductions due to declining enrollment, cuts in state and federal funding and rising costs in areas like energy and food.

When all is said and done, after trimming staff and cutting corners, district leaders expect to dip into reserves to make ends meet.

Enrollment losses this year are expected to cost the district $400,000. It’s a trend the district has been struggling with for 15 years. Madden pointed out the district’s enrollment has fallen steadily since 1997-98 when there were 5,004 students. This year, leaders are planning for 3,849 students to come through its doors Sept. 6.

Fewer students equates to less staff too, but not necessarily big savings.

“Even though we’ve reduced staff,” Madden noted. “Benefits keep going up.”

The majority of the district’s expenses are spent on education and staff.

Madden explained about 54 percent of the district’s revenue comes from the state; 21 percent from local taxes; 13 percent from the state for special programs and about 5 percent each from the federal government and non-tax sources like fees.

District leaders plan to spend $650,000 from the transportation vehicle fund to purchase five buses.

Madden is already looking at next year’s budget anticipating major budget reductions again.

In other business, the board:

• recessed to attend the Enumclaw City Council discussion regarding the two entities’ Pete’s Pool stadium relationship (see story on Page 1).

• accepted a $2,000 donation from the Buckley Log Show for an EHS scholarship.

• continued its long-standing tradition to waive senior citizen fees for entrance to school activities and events.

• OK’d the director district boundary changes presented by Sammamish Data, based on 2010 Census numbers.

• announced its next workshop for Sept. 6 and its next regular meeting will be Sept. 19, both at 6:30 p.m.

• accepted a leave of absence for Kibler Elementary Teacher Kathy Zampieri.

• accepted resignations from middle school paraeducators Cecilia Gaynor and Gloria Weed.

• hired licensed maintenance technician Rick Tyler.