Lake Washington School District approves budget

August 13, 2014

By Ari Cetron

New: Aug. 13, 11:14 a.m.

With little comment or discussion, the Lake Washington School board unanimously approved a budget for the next school year at its Aug. 4 meeting.
The board had discussed the $378 million spending plan at its June 23 meeting when it heard a presentation on the draft budget.
The vast majority of the district’s funding, about 64 percent, comes from the state. Local levy dollars represent about 22 percent, federal funding 5.5 percent, and the rest comes from fees and other sources.
The Lion’s share of the budget is the $271.9 million general fund. The general fund pays for the vast majority of the district’s expenses, including day-to-day operations and employee salaries.
The district expects to see about $17.1 million more in revenues for its general fund. Of that, $7.5 million will come from local sources, $8.2 million from state funding, and the rest from grants and fee-based programs.
Overall, revenues are projected to go up by 6.7 percent to $273.4 million.
General fund expenditures would go up by 5.1 percent under the plan, Posthumous said, largely because more students keep coming to Lake Washington schools. About $3.8 million of the general fund increase of $18.3 million is related to the staffing needs to accommodate the increased number of students.
The district will add more than 66 new positions next year, not including classroom teachers. (Teacher funding is dependent on enrollment, and comes directly from the state, so adding a new teacher is not a district expense.)
The district is predicting total enrollment to increase from 25,571 this year to 26,367 next year – an increase of 796 students (3.2 percent).
The budget calls for purchasing a new curriculum for special-education literacy, and printing costs to support that program. It also calls for adding an administrator to support all curricula on a district-wide basis.
More funding is set aside to allow a seven-period day in high schools; develop a kindergarten and first-grade program for gifted students; and allow common advanced placement classes in all high schools. The district also wants to explore alternatives to suspension as a form of discipline, and includes funding for allowing in-school suspensions.
Funding is also set aside to meet a state mandate to increase annual instructional time to 1,027 hours per year, Pierce said. The budget would increase high-school athletics directors’ positions from a 0.8 position to a full-time position. It calls for hiring new counselors, nurses, custodians, field crews and a pair of mental health/social workers on a contract basis.
The budget would pay for 18 new people to help support teachers. These would be skilled teachers who would not be in a classroom, but would offer professional development for district teachers. They include four K-5 literacy coaches, 10 K-12 instructional coaches, two professional learning specialists, and two special-education staff trainers.
Beyond the general fund, $50.8 million will go toward debt service, and another $48.4 million will go toward major construction projects. Another $5.1 million will fund after-school activities, and $1.8 million will purchase new school buses.
All of these programs get their money from dedicated funding sources such as bonds, fees and direct state funding.

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