BISD school board approves $64.8 million budget for 23-24

The Bainbridge Island School District school board approved its roughly $64.8 million budget for the 2023-24 school year Aug. 31, indicating a slight decline in student enrollment.

The district’s total enrollment estimate for the school year is 3,484 full-time students, 21 fewer FTE students than the 2022-23 actual enrollment of 3,505 FTE, which includes Alternative Learning and Running Start enrollment.

Kelly Pearson, BISD Director of Business and Finance, reviewed the budget with the board members and highlighted staffing, expenses, and enrollment expectations.

BISD Budget revenues come from 77% state dollars, 22% local levies that voters support, and 2% from the federal government.

The 2023-24 budget reflects an increase in general fund expenditures for students who receive specialized care, for increased cost of purchased services, and increased cost of supplies – food, custodial services, and maintenance.

Salaries and benefits comprise 87% of the budget; purchases services are 9%, while supplies and materials are 4%.

The state funds $4.8 million for basic education materials, supplies, and operating costs; the district spends about $7.2 million on those expenses.

The district will lose $700,000 in federal COVID-related funds and about $500,000 due to a 49 FTE student decrease.

Staffing adjustments remained relatively flat, with a decrease of 4.36 full-time employees in certificated staff and a slight increase of 5.85 FTE in classified staffing.

Pearson said salaries and benefits for certificated and classified salaries both went up. “You can see, from year to year, that’s largely driven by our effort to recruit and retain high-quality staff. It’s an effort to staff and spend up our district improvement plan and the multi-tier systems of support. It reflects staffing to enrollment.”

This year, the district is expecting a levy revenue increase of $250,000 and a special education increase of $1.2 million,

The special education funding increased because the formula has changed, giving some funding for birth to Pre-K students. “They are honoring the fact that some students require more resources and more money to support them, and they have a tiered level of support for those children,” Pearson said.

Some teachers “who have been around for a long time, have a lot of experience and a lot of skills” will receive an additional 4% increase. “In the Bainbridge Island School district, we have quite a few,” said Pearson.

Student enrollment is always a concern because the district receives $10,000 per student.

“If enrollment declines, then we need to also decline in expenses,” said Pearson.

Pearson highlighted the importance of this year’s 2023-24 kindergarten cohort. “We’re only projecting 217 incoming kindergartners,” said Pearson, “and what we’re seeing is those smaller cohorts over time are going to continue all the way through to twelfth grade.”

Overall, Pearson said, “The district is in pretty good health” and is grateful for funding from the state that recognizes BISD’s experienced and tenured teaching team. “As we build our budget, we’re conscientious about the resources we have, and try to come up with the highest and best use.”