School district approves budget

Spending plan increased from last year for turf, gym floor replacement

The Washougal School Board has approved a $28.8 million budget for the 2012-13 school year.

It is a $1.5 million increase over the 2011-12 budget. Of that, approximately $800,000 is for a planned gym floor and turf field replacement at Washougal High School.

“I feel very positive about this year’s budget,” said Dawn Tarzian, district superintendent. “It identifies key priorities and sets aside money for those things.”

The remaining $800,000 is for eight new teachers hired last year and this year to keep class sizes lower.

“We have an eye on keeping our class sizes at no more than 25 for kindergarten through third-grade, and 28 for the middle and high school levels,” Tarzian said.

She added that initial kindergarten enrollment numbers are higher than expected and the district may add a few more teachers this year in addition to the ones who have already been hired.

This year’s budget has a much different tone than that past four years, where reduction in teaching positions or pay was a frequent theme.

“I am guardedly optimistic that signs of recovery are here,” Tarzian said.

In addition, the district has restructured its staffing during the last two years so there is a curriculum director and facilities manager positions instead of a assistant superintendent and human resources director.

These changes will save the district approximately $50,000 per year.