White River will run on less again this year

The White River School Board gave the nod to a $37.6 million budget at its Aug. 10 meeting.

Like the past few budgets, this one is down due to state and federal reductions in funding, a decline in enrollment and rising costs.

Since no one was present to question the budget, district business manager Mona Moan did not take time to explain the process again at the public hearing. This year’s budget is about $538,000 less than last year. Earlier, she said the district expects to start with a $3.6 million fund balance, of which $1.2 million is not assigned as carryover, debt service or committed to reserves. With revenues expected to come in around $36.4 million, the $1.2 million difference will cover the projected shortfall this year.

Like many districts in the area, White River is seeing a decrease in enrollment. The district saw a steady increase in its student population from 1999 to 2006, where it peaked at 4,338, but since then enrollment has fallen, now below the district’s 1999-2000 level to 3,741.

Of those 3,741 students, 68 are expected to participate in the Running Start program; 480 will enroll in the vocational education program; and 525 are special education students.

Both certificated and classified staffing been adjusted to match the enrollment losses, but the majority of the district’s expenses are in salaries.

Money will come out of the capital projects budget for technology and for roof work at White River Alternative Programs and Glacier Middle School for a total of $1.13 million, leaving approximately $500,000 in that fund.

The transportation vehicle fund budget includes spending $275,000 to purchase three buses.

In other business, the board:

• introduced Jan Aronson, who has been named assistant principal at Glacier Middle School. She is a former middle school teacher who has worked with the state’s Office of Public Instruction. She comes, most recently, from Whidbey Island.

Principal Nick Hedman also was introduced. He will lead Wilkeson Elementary School. A former elementary teacher, he comes from the Puyallup School District where he was an instructional coach and most recently an assistant elementary school principal.

The district also introduced Randy Gregg, who will take over as transportation supervisor. Gregg, who was plucked from 21 applicants, is a former White River bus driver and was the sales manager at Enumclaw’s Fugate Ford. He replaces Rick LaBoyne. LaBoyne was also in charge of facilities, but district human resources director Keith Banks will oversee those duties.

• accepted resignations from building technician Troy Harter and child nutrition services worker Marcia Staples.

• released teachers Terry Hegel and Raeann Webb from their contracts.

• hired teachers Mandy Green, Heidi Lee and Lyle Becker, one year only; social worker Jennifer Cochrane-Nicolls; child care assistant Theresa Goodrich, one year only; specialized paraeducator Sereh Haubrich and Elmira Sines; licensed practical nurse Jeanne Noel; library educational assistant Rhonda Orndorff and instructional paraeducator Shelley Skinner.

• announced its next regular meeting will be at 6 p.m. Sept. 14 and a special meeting is planned for Sept. 28, both in the district board room.

• approved administrative internships for teachers Amy Miller and Cody Mothershead.