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Students are top priority in South Whidbey budget, directors say

Declining enrollment will force the South Whidbey School Board to trim next year’s budget by about $275,000.

Any budget cuts are to be taken from programs as distantly related to student learning and wellbeing as possible, according to statements from board members.

Due to declining enrollment numbers, state funding to the school district has also decreased.

Dan Poolman, assistant superintendent of business and operations, laid out the proposal for the Sept. 1, 2014-Aug. 31, 2015 school year budget Wednesday at a school board workshop held in the Langley Elementary School Community Room.

Comparable improvements from the previous school year budget, according to Poolman and as outlined in an executive summary, include new full-time employees in areas such as certificated staff, classroom support workers, custodial and maintenance staff and building support hours.

Some of the strain on this year’s budget comes from the amount spent on increased staffing and employee salary raises for certain workers, including Superintendent Jo Moccia.

The salary raises and increase in staff members, combined with increased legal fees and medical costs district-wide will amount to a combined total of $460,000.

Other major changes to the coming year’s budget include reductions in supplies spending by $205,000 with the largest reductions in programs such as transportation, vocational and food services. Out-of-district services and transportation costs will be cut by $70,000.

The 2014-15 school year budget is available online at www.sw.wednet.edu. The board will hold a business meeting to ratify the budget, followed by an executive session for negotiations, at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 23 in the same location.

 

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