WSD approves 2014-15 budget

$31.8 million general fund reflects increase in levy collections, enrollment

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The Washougal School District’s 2014-15 budget includes funding for all-day kindergarten and technology improvements at all schools. This year’s spending plan is $31.8 million, approximately $1.6 million more than the 2013-14 year.

It is based on projected enrollment of 2,987 full-time equivalent students. Last year’s projected enrollment was 2,918.

“Our projected increase in revenues has allowed us to build a budget that maintains our current educational program and also increases resources dedicated to primary grades, technology, staff development and counseling,” said Brian Wallace, business manager.

Part of the increased spending this year is also due to the district offering full-day kindergarten at all elementary schools. Residents in the school district approved a 3-year, $19.6 million maintenance and operations levy which included that provision, but collection will not begin until the 2015 calendar year.

A 3-year, $2.1 million technology levy was also passed by voters.

“We did not want to wait until next year to implement all-day kindergarten and other planned enhancements to our educational program,” Wallace said. “So our budget anticipates expenditures exceeding revenues by $429,000.”

The funds to pay for this will come from the district’s reserves.

New this year is the state of Washington losing the No Child Left Behind waiver. Now, districts must set aside 20 percent of Title 1 funds for students who want to relocate to another building within the district.

However, Wallace doesn’t anticipate that the impact will be significant. The district’s Title 1 allocation for 2014-15 is $440,204.

Other highlights from the budget include an increase in certified staffing of 11.48 FTE, due to increased enrollment, special education and additional certified specialists such as a reading coach and counselor. Classified spending is budgeted at 126.7 FTE, an increase of 2.55 from last year.