Community News

When it meets tomorrow, the School Board will consider a $28 million proposed budget that deals with decreasing enrollment and increasing costs. 

The draft budget proposal calls for spending just $231,500 more than last year, an increase of less than one percent. But, the draft budget predicts revenues will fall short of expenditures by about $131,500.

In her budget summary, Lisa Matthews, the district’s Finance Director, says “The District’s ability to convert the budget from simply a spending plan to reality is totally dependent on the accuracy of the assumptions on which the budget is built.”

School enrollment 1997-2008

The draft budget estimates there will be 63 fewer students this coming school year, meaning less subsidies from outside the district. That’s a prediction that may not hold up. Total enrollment has by nearly 10 percent or 300 students over the past ten years.

Matthews also said “state and federal funding do not keep pace with the costs of operations and the pressure on funding from local sources is increasing.”

The budget leaves room for replacing the roofs at the high school and one elementary school, items which were included in a list of projects which would have been funded by a school bond proposal rejected by voters earlier this year.

The budget includes reductions in staff which were, in fact, taken at the end of the last school year. And, one significant savings, more than $700,000, comes with the move of Secret Harbor from Cypress Island to scattered locations around the county.

The school board will discuss the budget proposal at their meeting tomorrow (Thursday) at 6:15 pm in the board meeting room on the second floor of Anacortes Middle School.

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