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

School district uses reserves to balance next year's budget


The Wahkiakum School District Board of Directors adopted the budget for 2019-2020, heard an update on the commercial kitchen project, and handled other business at their monthly meeting on Tuesday.

The board approved a budget of $7,950,464, which includes $5,005,446 for salaries and benefits. It also covers transportation, utilities, technology, food service, custodial, maintenance and grounds, human resources, business, and the superintendent’s office.

The district is expecting $7,853,483 in revenue. The state apportionment is 61 percent of the revenue, and is based on enrollment. The local levy, at $2.50 per $1,000 assessed value, will bring in $845,443. A Hold Harmless provision will add $127,500, and grants and CTE (Career and Technical Education) will provide another $904,427. There has been an increase in funding for special education and transportation from the state as well.

Staff said spending will exceed the estimated revenue by nearly $97,000, despite the district’s efforts, and they will have to dip into reserves, and will likely have to do so every year that funding is affected by the McCleary decision.

“I think we were very effective in finding financial efficiencies,” Superintendent Brent Freeman said. “We cut costs without cutting product. I think we will continue to see that through the next year. We worked with the Wahkiakum PUD to get the lighting done. That’s going to save us a couple thousand dollars every year.”

The commercial kitchen project has gone out for bid twice, Freeman said, so they have engaged an architect, who brought in an electrical engineer.

This created more issues, which they are trying to resolve in order to move forward.

“We’ve contacted a number of people that we believe are going to be very interested now that there is a very directed set of plans,” Freeman said. They have also reached out to the grantor for the project, and were given an extension.

"If we can’t get this to work in the near term, we’re going to have to cut bait,” Freeman said.

The board accepted resignations from a para-educator, a coach, and Joel McEntire, a middle school science teacher.

The district has received a grant of $6,178.20 from the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction for the School Construction Assistance Program. This will pay for an on-site survey to be conducted by the ESD construction service group, which will consider the electrical system, the plumbing, seismic issues, and more.

“They won’t just do that,” Freeman said, “they will go through the entire construction and remodel process with us. This is a team with the expertise to prioritize what needs to be done. I’d like to get them up here as early as next week.”

Finally, an air quality monitor may be installed this week at the school, in a partnership with Wahkiakum Health and Human Services.


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