South Kitsap School Board to Hold Final Hearing on 2008/09 Budget
Board will use district’s reserve fund to make up more than half
of a nearly $3 million deficit.
By Chris Henry
The South Kitsap School District Board of Directors on Wednesday will hold a final public hearing on its proposed $102 million budget for the 2008/09 school year.
The board could adopt the budget the same night. Its deadline for budget adoption is Aug. 31.
The board proposes to make up more than half – $1.7 million – of a projected $3 million general fund deficit by using its reserve fund. General fund appropriations are proposed at $97 million.
The remainder of the deficit will be made up through moderate cuts spread throughout various departments and funds. No outright layoffs are expected this year, although – with deficits projected into the foreseeable future – a significant reduction in staff is expected in the 2009/10 school year, according to Terri Patton, assistant superintendent for business and support services.
The district this year will save $300,000 by not filling vacated positions, by reducing special education staff contracts to adjust for enrollment and reducing hours in an accounting position.
More than $300,000 will be saved by a 10 percent across the board reduction in “non-employee-related” costs, such as paper, copying equipment and miscellaneous supplies. The reduction is likely to be felt in schools, which haven’t absorbed such a hit since the district failed to pass a levy and lacked supplemental funding in the 2000/01 school year.
“Cost shifting,” transferring expenses such as laundry, transportation and storage, directly to departments, will save another $134,000. But the effect will be felt by students as the cost is passed on to them. The board has already approved an increase in lunch prices.
As the board considers how much to ask of voters in a February measure to replace the district’s expiring maintenance and operations levy, they will look to replenishing the reserve fund. The district’s goal is to maintain the fund at or above three percent of the total budget.
The reserve fund ended last year $1 million higher than expected due to higher than expected property tax revenue among other factors. The district will tap the reserve fund by an additional $720,000 above the $1 million to balance the budget for the upcoming school year.
Copies of the proposed budget will be available at the meeting. For information on the budget call (360) 874-7012 or e-mail email@example.com.