New budget for Bainbridge schools will tap budget reserves

The Bainbridge Island School District will dip into its reserve funds to cover a $790,555 spending gap in the coming school year.

The Bainbridge school board got a look at its preliminary budget for the 2019-20 school year at its last meeting.

Next year’s general fund expenditures — which pays for teachers and classified staff, maintenance, administration and other costs — will total $56.7 million.

General fund revenues are forecast to be $55.9 million, however.

A decline in the number of students, as well as teacher salaries and reduced funding from tax levies, are primary factors in the budget gap.

Bainbridge is expecting to see fewer students in public school classrooms next year.

Enrollment is expected to drop by 91 students, down to 3,672 students from 3,763 students this year.

According to the preliminary budget, the number of FTE (full-time equivalent) classified employees will drop to 137 in 2019-2020 from this year’s adopted budget of 140.5, which the number of certificated employees will drop to 259.9 FTEs next year from 273.5 FTEs this year.

Officials said the certificated and classified staff numbers are under review to confirm that staffing will be in alignment with enrollment and district programs and needs.

Certificated staffing changes included reductions in teaching positions, counselor, psychologist, behavior health specialist, differentiation specialists, athletic director, and administrative.

Officials noted that while the number of classified staff FTEs in the budget is lower than in the 2018-19 budget, there were no decreases in actual classified positions for 2019-20.

District officials said revenue changes in the new budget include:

• A decrease in tax collections – $338,388 (levy limits);

• An increase in local non-tax revenues – $54,000 (food service);

• A decrease in state funding – Apportionment – $207,445 (enrollment decline);

• An increase in state funding – Special Purpose – $652,055 (Safety Net, transportation);

• An increase in federal funding – $76,655 (Safety Net); and

• A decrease in support from the tech levy – $126,721.

The school board is expect to vote on the adoption of the district’s final 2019-20 school year budget at its meeting in August.

If adopted without changes, the district will still end the current fiscal year with a total fund balance in excess of 5 percent, achieving the board policy that mandates a 5 percent fund balance.

That said, the district’s total ending fund balance will still be below the amount advocated by the school district’s bond rating agency, as well as the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction’s Financial Health Indicators.

The district said the deficit spending is “necessary to achieve district goals of high-quality instruction, assessment to support student learning, curriculum that supports instructional goals and retention of high-quality staff.”

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