Bainbridge school board approves 2017-2018 budget

The Bainbridge Island School District’s board of directors has given their final approval for the coming school year’s budget.

With last year’s deficit spending and subsequent budget crisis now in their rear-view mirror, the school board unanimously approved a finalized budget for the 2017-2018 school year at its last meeting.

This year the district expects to spend $46.2 million from the general fund, which pays for day-to-day school operations. The new budget marks an increase of $1.4 million over last year’s spending.

The increases are partially a result of previously negotiated raises to staff salaries and benefits which remain the largest portion (86.5 percent) of the district’s total expenditures.

A total of $25,971,966 is earmarked to be spent on regular instruction and will account for 56.2 percent of the overall general fund budget. Percentage-wise, this will be a decrease from the previous year’s 57.1 percent.

Vocational and career technical education spending is expected to increase by $647,275 this year and its $2,653,124 will account for about 5.7 percent of general fund spending in the 2017-18 school year.

Last February, Bang-Knudsen announced that the district would need to cut $2.1 million in district spending.

The district later received a windfall in late June when the Washington State Legislature passed an educational spending plan that would allocate, through local taxes, $7.3 billion for schools over the next four years. The new state budget will bring the Bainbridge Island School District an additional $2,047,210 in general fund increases this year.

The 2017-18 budget takes into consideration lower projected enrollment numbers with 74 fewer students expected to attend Bainbridge schools this year.

Budget increases will also be felt due to two levies passed by island voters in February, which will gather a total of $51.6 million for Bainbridge schools between 2018 and 2021.

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