Arrow-right Camera

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Thursday, September 24, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Partly Cloudy Night 58° Partly Cloudy
News >  Education

Spokane Schools looking at $436 million budget and considering bond for November ballot

UPDATED: Tue., June 26, 2018

FILE - The Spokane Public Schools administrative building in 2017. (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)
FILE - The Spokane Public Schools administrative building in 2017. (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)

Spokane Public Schools officials are looking ahead to next week, next year and the next decade as they assemble a $436 million budget for next year.

In the short term, the district board is expected to provide Superintendent Shelley Redinger with a preliminary budget for that would boost support in several key areas:

    $450,000 to increase the daily pay rate for certain hard-to-fill positions, especially in special education programs.

    $433,570 for additional staffing and other improvements in the Summit Program.

    $270,000 to add counselors at the middle-school level.

    $150,000 for expansion of language immersion programs up to Grade 2.

    $120,000 for increased direct support of libraries.

The district also faces a $656,000 increase in its transportation budget after signing a new five-year contract with Durham School Services. The hike is driven by additional technology and higher wages for drivers.

Some of the district’s major academic goals in 2018-19 include development of a K-12 science curriculum and improvements in the Language Immersion Program.

The work continues Wednesday night during the regular board meeting at 7:30 p.m. The district hopes to finalize the budget in mid-August.

Still under consideration is additional funding for more mental health counselors, but the district received a boost last week with a $450,000 grant from Spokane County.

The timing couldn’t have been better. During its June 13 meeting – two weeks after a shooting threat at Lewis and Clark High School – the board heard pleas from several parents to increase spending in that area.

The country grant “is very good news,” Redinger said.

The district also projects $450.2 million in revenues for next year, or a surplus of $14,196,000.

That would give the district a cumulative surplus of almost $40 million going into the following year.

However, the budget outlook gets cloudier in the 2019-2020 budget. Current projections show a $30 million deficit, which would erase three-quarters of the cumulative surplus.

Also on Wednesday, during a special meeting which begins at 5 p.m., associate superintendent Mark Anderson will update the board on progress toward partnerships with the city of Spokane that could lead to a bond measure being place on the November ballot.

The bond would include funds for three new middle schools; the replacement of Glover, Sacajawea and Shaw middle schools; renovation or replacement of Joe Albi Stadium; and other projects.

In its current form, a bond would cost $505.3 million, with another $57.9 million in state construction matching funds.

The district has until mid-August to place the bond on the November ballot.

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

Local journalism is essential.

The journalists of The Spokesman-Review are a part of the community. They live here. They work here. They care. You can help keep local journalism strong right now with your contribution. Thank you.

Subscribe to the Coronavirus newsletter

Get the day’s latest Coronavirus news delivered to your inbox by subscribing to our newsletter.

4 favorite Gonzaga basketball teams

The basketball court at the McCarthey Athletic Center is photographed before an NCAA college basketball game between Gonzaga and BYU, Feb. 25, 2017. (AP Photo/Young Kwak) (Young Kwak / AP Photo)

While we look ahead to future seasons of Gonzaga Bulldog basketball , it’s fun to look at highlights from past years.