Montesano School District approves budget

Budget resolution for the 2016-2017 school year approved with $15,445,088 apportioned for the general fund.

The Montesano School board approved its budget resolution for the 2016-2017 school year at the meeting held July 28 with $15,445,088 apportioned for the general fund.

The budget, presented by Montesano School District business manager Sheila Baker, unanimously was approved by the attending board members, following a public hearing. (Montesano school board member Caleb Backholm was not in attendance.)

The budget is based on enrollment of 1,323 full time equivalent (FTE) students, with last year budgeted at 1,260 FTE. The actual average enrollment during the 2015-16 school year was 1,341 FTE.

Baker said there was a large increase in enrollment over the past four years but they budgeted the estimated FTE conservatively. To illustrate the point, Superintendent Dan Winter said in the 2012-2013 school year the FTE was 1,172.

Revenue for the district increased about 7.4 percent or about $1 million from last year from about $14.4 million to about $15.5 million.

The general fund has a beginning balance of about $1.5 million with $15.5 million in expected revenues and proposed expenditures of $15.4 million.

About 62 percent or $9.6 million, the bulk of the revenue for the district budget, is allocated from the state for basic education apportionment and levy equalization. Another $2 million is allocated from the state for special education, the learning assisted program, transitional bilingual and also includes the state’s co-payment for food services.

Some revenue ($508,700) comes from non-tax sources such as lunch and breakfast fees, gifts and donations, investment earnings, fines and local grants. Other revenue sources include local taxes, including the timber excise tax, at a total of $2.2 million.

General fund expenditures include about $12 million for salaries and benefits for certificated and classified employees.

Teacher salaries, benefits, supplies, services and travel for basic education teachers and para-educators is about $6 million and total expenditures for basic education amounts to about $8.6 million.

Teacher salaries, benefits, supplies, services and travel for special education teachers and para-educators is about $1 million with total expenditures for special education at $1.5 million.

The board also approved a $600,000 limited general obligation bond, through Cashmere Valley Bank, to fund a track project, the third grade transition from Beacon to Simpson school and moving the weight room. Baker said instead of taking a big chunk out of the fund balance, the decision was made to pay $63,000 per year for a ten-year term, which she said could be more easily budgeted. Baker also said the bond could be paid off early, if necessary.

Lunch prices for the 2016-2017 school year were raised to $2.65 for grades kindergarten to 6, and $2.90 for grades 7 to 12. Winter said the nickle increase was required for the district to be in compliance with federal requirements for reimbursement.

Winter announced Simpson Avenue Elementary School, for the third year in a row, received a Washington Achievement Award at the meeting, and was presented by Andrew Eyres, assistant superintendent for the Capital Region Educational Service District 113.

The school was honored for its achievement in math growth at a ceremony held in May, where other Washington schools were recognized for achievements in overall excellence, high progress, English language arts growth, math growth, extended graduation rate, English language acquisition and achievement gap.

Also at the meeting, Janie Brumfield, co-chair of Montesano Community Education, said she was disappointed in the course offerings provided during the winter session. Brumfield said the fall schedule offered regular classes while the winter session was limited to four sports and a kids’ certification class.

“I hope the offerings can be expanded,” Brumfield said and added community education was set up to provide lifelong learning for people of all ages.

Board member Tiffany Schweppe said the board understood the value of community education but could not take on the program as it was. She added that perhaps the program could be expanded at a later date through the Community Center or the program offered through the school district.

“This is the best we could do right now,” Schweppe said, “but this is not the end of the discussion.”