Enumclaw anticipates budget reductions

Anticipating another 100-student drop in enrollment, combined with the state’s funding shortfall and changes in federal funding, the Enumclaw School District anticipates it will have to shave $2 million from its 2009-10 budget.

At the Feb. 23 Enumclaw School Board meeting, Superintendent Mike Nelson didn’t say what those cuts would be, and likely isn’t going to make those announcements until later this month.

Nelson has been making the rounds at district schools to discuss the situation, taking input that will help when the time comes to make the difficult decisions of reductions.

“We’re gathering information,” Nelson said. “We’ll have to make decisions. We hope it will help make those decisions.”

The district has set up a link on its Web site, www.enumclaw.wednet.edu, to provide budget information, as well as an area for questions and comments.

District voters recently approved a capital facilities and technology levy, but that money is earmarked for specific projects. District leaders are, however, looking for ways to get more bang for the taxpayers’ buck.

There was no formal decision made at the Feb. 23 meeting, but Nelson said he and others are trying to get a non-voting bond or loan against the capital levy that could be used to cover a roof at Enumclaw Middle School until levy funds are collected in 2010.

Nelson explained the roof needs work this summer regardless. It would be more efficient to replace the roof during this time, especially if the construction market is favorable, than to wait. The district could also get a higher-quality roof for the same price. Nelson would like to see the project go to bid in April or May.

“It’s a chance to get more for people’s money in these economic times,” school board member Corey Cassell said.

One positive announcement regarding the budget came from Aaron Stanton, director of student support serivces, who noted the arrival of $394,000 in special education reimbursement from the state.

Stanton said the process is cumbersome, but each year his staff has been able to slowly provide the paperwork needed to secure more money. This year, he took two boxes full of documentation to the state.

“This money is there,” Stanton said. “It’s intended for us.”

Reach Brenda Sexton at bsexton@courierherald.com or 360-802-8206.