The Wahkiakum County Eagle - Established as The Skamokawa Eagle in 1891

WSD approves $7 million budget for 2018-19 year

 

August 2, 2018



The budget for the 2018-2019 school year was approved at the Wahkiakum School District Board of Directors July meeting last Thursday.

The board approved a $7 million budget for the 2018-2019 school year, as well as a four year budget and a four year enrollment projection now required by the state.

“It looks as good as it can be at the moment,” former Superintendent Bob Garrett said. “The real tell will be the number of kids who walk in the door at the beginning of the school year. We’re going to hope for the best.”

(During a special meeting on June 27, the board voted unanimously to keep Garrett on the payroll for the 2018-2019 year, for a total of 60 days or 480 hours. He is expected to work five days a month, at a rate of $50 per hour.)

“From my perspective, the budget for this next year looks pretty good,” new Superintendent Brent Freeman said. “I think there was a lot of thought and a lot of detail put into it. The hard part is the four year budget. You’re trying to project enrollment out. We ended up making some base assumptions, which are just that, assumptions.”

Garrett said that a levy rollback will affect revenue starting in April. Wahkiakum voters agreed to support the school district with a levy of $2.38 per $1,000 assessed value, but Washington legislators, trying to solve a funding problem at school districts across the state, decided that districts could only ask for $1.50 per $1,000.

Thus the rollback.

In June, the district spoke to legislators Dean Takko and Brian Blake about how the legislature’s solution to the McCleary Decision will negatively affect Wahkiakum teachers, staff and students.

“We’re just getting heated up and we’re going to make them work for the district,” Director Paula Culbertson said on Tuesday. “We’re not just going to roll over and play dead.”

“I think the meeting was good,” Freeman added. “I think it was good that we had the staff here. We’re unified. Obviously that meeting didn’t change anything, but we’re hearing that the superintendent of Washington schools has been getting calls from legislators.”

“I think we have a long ways to go,” he added. “I’m not overly optimistic that the fix will be easy but I do think it’s the right thing to do to fight for this and stay on it.”

During a discussion about policies, Director Robin Westphall said that she hoped that the district would make a commitment to a policy regarding nutrition, health, and fitness, by not just “paying lip service” and actually taking action on it. She suggested that they reinstate a wellness committee.

When the board touched on a policy regarding homeless students, Garrett remarked that there were 63 homeless students last year, which was nearly twice as many as the year before.

“Most of the 63 are doubled up, which means they are living in someone else’s home,” Garrett said.

In other business, the board approved the district’s membership with Washington Interscholastic Activities Association and an annual agreement with ESD 112 for the 2018-2019 school year.

The next meeting will be August 21 at 5:30 p.m.

 

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