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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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CV schools approve $105 million budget

The Central Valley School District board of directors unanimously adopted a budget of just more than $105 million for the upcoming school year Monday night. It includes the reduction of two vice principal positions from the district’s five middle schools.

At North Pines, Bowdish, Evergreen and Horizon middle schools, two vice principals will oversee two schools each, instead of having a vice principal posted at each school. Greenacres Middle School will continue to have a full-time vice principal. Both positions were left vacant because of retirements.

Other budget reductions include the elimination of two half-time positions at both of the district’s high schools.

“While revenues continue to grow, our expenses are growing at a greater pace,” said Jan Hutton, district business manager.

This year’s general fund will total about $90.8 million, $5 million more than last year.

The budgeted fund balance is about $3 million, or 3.34 percent of the budget, up from 3.27 percent last year.

The school board has specified a fund balance of 3 percent to 5 percent of the total budget, but the balance has been about 3 percent for several years. The state average is about 7.5 percent.

“We’re getting closer to our goal,” said Superintendent Mike Pearson.

While some reductions – due to rising costs of health-care benefits and salaries for all district employees – were necessary, the district’s revenues continue to grow in part because of increasing enrollment.

“Our enrollment is really the cornerstone of our budget,” Hutton said. “Central Valley has a history of very slow, steady growth, and that’s been our trend until our current school year, when we’ve seen three times the trend.”

District enrollment increased 3 percent last year and is expected to increase 3 percent this year.

“That’s probably not a surprise as you drive around the district and see the new houses going up,” Hutton said.

The budget also includes $1.9 million in Associated Student Body funds, $8.7 million in debt service funds for interest and principal payments on outstanding bonds, and $400,000 for transportation services, mainly for the purchase of four buses this fall.

Just more than $4.4 million is earmarked for capital projects compared with $13 million last year.

Last year, the district was paying for renovation of South Pines Elementary School and the finishing touches on the Greenacres Middle School remodeling project. This year’s capital funds will pay for completion of South Pines, fiber-optic connections at all schools and periodic repairs. The money also could be used to pay for the purchase of land, Hutton said.

The district went into this fiscal year with contract negotiations with all four employee associations.

Principals’ and teachers’ contracts were ratified during the summer. Also on Monday, the board approved a three-year contract with the classified staff. The coaches’ contract is still in negotiation.

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