July 27, 1995 in City

Spokane School Board Finds Way To Stretch Tight Money

Carla K. Johnson Staff writer
 
Tags:meeting

In a tight money year, Spokane School District 81 found enough cash to fund new books, teacher training and security officers for high schools.

The Spokane School Board approved a $190 million budget Wednesday.

The 1995-96 budget shifts money into security and staff development by taking money from high-poverty schools and administration.

The spending plan also reflects state and federal budget cuts and a local tax loss because of inaccurate property appraisals in Spokane County.

Spending in the new budget is 7.4 percent higher than last year.

Expenditures include the salary increase and some state and federal money that may not be approved. If that money is not approved, the district would trim spending.

District budget writers predict an enrollment of 30,222, an increase of 319 students or 1 percent.

Enrollment growth is expected in high schools and middle schools.

But elementary schools may see a loss of 341 students.

Unlike past years, the district will wait until school starts to hire new teachers, waiting to see if new students actually show up.

“We wouldn’t be surprised with zero growth and we wouldn’t be surprised if we get 500 more students,” said Associate Superintendent Walt Rulffes.

The district got caught overstaffed two years ago when enrollment projections were off by 800 students.

The district receives about $4,000 per student from the state, so accurate predictions are essential for budgeting.

If this year’s predictions come true, the district will hire eight to 12 teachers in the fall.

The budget includes a 4 percent salary increase for teachers, which was approved by the state Legislature.

Goals set by the school board after community meetings guided the budget.

School security and quality teaching are the community’s priorities, said Superintendent Gary Livingston.

Each high school will get a security officer who will patrol parking lots and attend games and other school activities.

The officers won’t carry guns. They will wear blazers and a badge or patch to identify themselves as security.

The cut in local money to high-poverty schools will be offset by increasing money from the federal government.

The budget projects an ending cash balance of $5.4 million, about the same as this year. The balance is the money the district carries over from year to year, a cushion for emergencies.

A healthy cash balance keeps the district’s bond rating high, Rulffes said.

, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Graphic: District 81 tightens its belt

MEMO: This sidebar appeared with the story: DISTRICT 81 TIGHTENS ITS BELT WINNERS Security - Five new security officers, one for each high school. New Truancy Center to deal with kids skipping school. Price: $215,000. Staff development - New Technology Training Academy at old Libby Middle School. Hire 2 trainers and substitutes to take over for teachers during training. Price: $200,000. Curriculum - New books and other materials in math, science, language arts, foreign languages and social studies. Price: $750,000. Restructuring - Schools will get $10 per student to pay for school innovations. Central office will get money to oversee restructuring. Price: $500,000.

LOSERS High-poverty schools - Elementary schools in high-poverty areas will lose extra district money to combine with federal money they get because of their needs. Loss: $480,000. Vocational education - Voc ed loses five teachers through attrition and takes cuts to capital spending and supplies. State cut: $300,000. Project Wage - Two people laid off from federal job training program. Two more layoffs possible if expected cut of $200,000 occurs. Summer Vocational - Skills Center summer school will not operate next year because of $160,000 state cut. Computers - Schools received state money last year for computers, but Legislature decided not to do it again. State cut: $660,000. Administration - Three-and-one-half central office administrators who retired or left district will not be replaced. Local cut: $330,000. Operation Aware - Elementary school anti-drug program eliminated. State cut: $120,000. Child abuse - One staff member laid off who acted as a liaison between district and Department of Social and Health Services. Cut: $10,000.

Source: Spokane School District 81 Staff graphic

This sidebar appeared with the story: DISTRICT 81 TIGHTENS ITS BELT WINNERS Security - Five new security officers, one for each high school. New Truancy Center to deal with kids skipping school. Price: $215,000. Staff development - New Technology Training Academy at old Libby Middle School. Hire 2 trainers and substitutes to take over for teachers during training. Price: $200,000. Curriculum - New books and other materials in math, science, language arts, foreign languages and social studies. Price: $750,000. Restructuring - Schools will get $10 per student to pay for school innovations. Central office will get money to oversee restructuring. Price: $500,000.

LOSERS High-poverty schools - Elementary schools in high-poverty areas will lose extra district money to combine with federal money they get because of their needs. Loss: $480,000. Vocational education - Voc ed loses five teachers through attrition and takes cuts to capital spending and supplies. State cut: $300,000. Project Wage - Two people laid off from federal job training program. Two more layoffs possible if expected cut of $200,000 occurs. Summer Vocational - Skills Center summer school will not operate next year because of $160,000 state cut. Computers - Schools received state money last year for computers, but Legislature decided not to do it again. State cut: $660,000. Administration - Three-and-one-half central office administrators who retired or left district will not be replaced. Local cut: $330,000. Operation Aware - Elementary school anti-drug program eliminated. State cut: $120,000. Child abuse - One staff member laid off who acted as a liaison between district and Department of Social and Health Services. Cut: $10,000.

Source: Spokane School District 81 Staff graphic


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