Budgets increase at local schools

COLA, increased enrollment are factors

Budgets in Camas and Washougal school districts have both increased from last year, mainly due to staffing needs and statewide adjustments for cost of living allowances.

In Camas, the 2015-16, $69 million spending plan includes the addition of a full-day kindergarten program, funded by the district. Last year’s general fund budget was $61 million.

“It was determined that this program was important, so we are implementing this program without funding from the state and without charging tuition,” said Donna Gregg, business services director.

All-day kindergarten will cost the district $1.2 million, which will be taken from the reserved fund balance.

“We continue to be student and classroom focused in our budget,” Gregg said. “This focus drives the budget as it always has.”

Other spending increases came from the statewide three percent COLA increase of $1,100,000 for all staff, as well as through increases in enrollment.

This year’s projected full-time equivalency enrollment is 6,488, compared to last year’s projected 6,106.

The district is adding 19.7 FTE certificated positions and 5.6 classified staff, for a total cost of $2.3 million.

“We added at various grade levels due to projected increases in enrollment,” Gregg said. “We are also budgeted to increase staff time in the human resources department and added a secretary to support the CTE/assessment/curriculum departments.”

In Washougal, the 2015-16, $33.9 million spending plan reflects the addition of the state COLA as well as an increase in certificated and classified staff to meet instructional needs. Last year’s general fund budget was $31.8 million.

“Increased staffing is necessary to accommodate increasing enrollment and to keep pace with teacher and student instructional support needs,” said Larry Mayfield, business manager. “The district is seeing increased students at the elementary, middle school and high school levels.”

This year’s projected FTE enrollment is 3,307, compared to last year’s projected 2,959 students.

Staffing will include a new kindergarten through fifth-grade life skills teacher, a part-time counselor at Cape Horn-Skye Elementary and Canyon Creek Middle schools, and a new maintenance and grounds staff member, among other positions, for a total cost of approximately $400,000.

The district has also added a Family Resource Center position to its staffing, which will help support students, families and community partnerships at Hathaway Elementary and Jemetgaard Middle School.

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