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CV unveils budget for next year

No reductions planned; sports participation fees will continue

Finance Director Jan Hutton unveiled the Central Valley School District’s 2012-’13 budget during the school board’s meeting Monday.

For the first time in several years, there was good news.

“There is no recommendation of reduction or implementation of reductions for the Central Valley School District,” she told the board.

It’s the first time since the beginning of the recession the district hasn’t made any cuts to staff or programs. She said the budget is based on an estimated enrollment of 11,996 students, including 210 Running Start students.

The proposed budget is for about $114 million, a slight increase from last year and includes the new Spokane Valley Tech, a branch of the Skills Center that will begin offering classes this fall.

The board will hold a public hearing at its next meeting before it votes on it.

Board President Debra Long questioned whether the district should continue charging students participation fees for all of its Washington Interscholastic Activity Association-sanctioned sports when the fees came up on the agenda later in the meeting.

The board approved the participation fees in June 2010, in light of cuts in state funding. At the high school level, students pay $60 to participate in each sport. If students pay for two sports, the third one is free. At the middle school level, students must pay $25 for each sport.

Superintendent Ben Small told the board the fees generate about $140,000 per year. Board member Tom Dingus asked if participation had been affected by the fees. Small said it hadn’t, and in the case of North Pines Middle School, participation had actually increased.

“Maybe it’s just become part of the culture,” wondered board member MJ Bolt, since participation hadn’t gone down.

Board member Amy Mason said as a parent herself, she knows families of athletes are used to paying much more for sports outside of school.

“This is a bargain,” she said.

After a lengthy discussion, the board voted on the fee schedule. Dingus, Mason and board member Keith Clark voted to approve the fee schedule, which keeps the fees in place. Bolt voted against.

The board, however, indicated it might want to reconsider the fees at a later date, with more facts about the fees and the impact they have on families.