School district approves $19M budget

Vashon’s school board recently passed a no-cuts budget for the upcoming school year that includes modest teacher raises, the elimination of some fees and added funding for some school programs.

Vashon’s school board recently passed a no-cuts budget for the upcoming school year that includes modest teacher raises, the elimination of some fees and added funding for some school programs.

The Vashon School District’s operating budget for the 2015-2016 school year, approved at the July 9 board meeting, is $19.4 million, up from about $17.6 million last year. The added funding comes in part from the state Legislature’s moves to comply with the state Supreme Court’s McCleary Decision. Lawmakers recently approved a 2 percent cost-of-living salary increase for teachers — which on Vashon will be funded in part by the state and in part by the district — and added funding in a variety of other areas. Vashon teachers and some other staff will also receive an additional 2 percent salary increase that was negotiated with the district two years ago.

School board chair Laura Wishik said that while the state is far from fully funding education, the added money helps.

“The Legislature hasn’t really done what it needs to yet, but they’ve moved a small step in the right direction,” Wishik said.

The district will also see slightly more funding from local property taxes and some added funding from increased enrollment.

With the increased revenue, the schools added the full-time equivalent of nearly five staff members. About $75,000 was budgeted for a new second grade teacher to maintain smaller class sizes, and about $100,000 for additional counseling staff at the elementary and middle schools, something Wishik said teachers have requested.

Staffing was also added to maintain class sizes in core subjects at the high school, costing about $90,000, and to provide an alternative high school program that was piloted last year, costing about $85,000.

The board also voted to spend about $18,000 to eliminate fees for courses without consumable materials, such as band and foreign languages. Matt Sullivan, the district’s director of business services, noted that the district still doesn’t know exactly how much state funding it will receive, and board members hope that some additional funding can be used to further cut fees.

The school board also recently learned that capital projects it is considering for an upcoming bond measure will cost more than architects originally projected.

Integrus Architecture, which recently gave high-level estimates for Phase 2 projects such as a new gym and new track and field at the high school, left off some soft costs that will increase the estimates by 40 to 55 percent, according to Kim Goforth, the schools’ capital facilities director. For instance, options for a new gym originally estimated to cost $11.8 to $17.5 million are now estimated to cost $18.3 to $27.1 million.

Board member Dan Chasan called the error disappointing and said the district may get less for its money than originally thought, but noted that no planning had been done with the inaccurate numbers.

“It was kind of a nasty surprise, but I don’t think it has any real consequences,” he said.

 

More in News

School district officials tell legislators: sustainability, solvency at risk

The Vashon Island School District is projected to face a $600,000 shortfall… Continue reading

Experts relocate osprey nest near VHS field

Last week, a family home close to the high school and new… Continue reading

Joe Nguyen, newly elected to state senate, looks ahead

Joe Nguyen, the son of Vietnamese immigrants and a lifelong resident of… Continue reading

With comment period closed, WSF will hold meeting in West Seattle Dec. 5.

The comment period for the proposed ferry schedule for the triangle route… Continue reading

Islanders protest Trump’s attorney general pick

A crowd of 70 islanders, joined by the Backbone Campaign, protested at… Continue reading

Weekend celebration will honor island elder

Vashon’s Quaker community is hosting an unusual version of a celebration of… Continue reading

Island-wide power outage scheduled for Thursday night

Outage will last anywhere from a few minutes to 30 minutes.

Water district to discuss raising rates

Water District 19 will hold a meeting next Tuesday, where commissioners will… Continue reading

Funding primary care is focus of health collaborative

Neighborcare is expecting a $350,000 operating deficit this year at the Vashon clinic.

Most Read