Battle Ground Public Schools' Board of Directors unanimously approved the 2017-18 district budget at its meeting on Monday, Aug. 28. The changes that the Washington State Legislature made to school funding in its biennium budget do not begin to take effect until next school year, so little is changed in this year's budget compared to last year.
At their meeting, board members approved allocations for four main buckets: day-to-day operations, including $600,000 for the general fund reserve; student activities; debt services (bonds); and facilities projects.
Battle Ground expects to receive $169.1 million in revenues in 2017-18, an increase of 8 percent over last year's budget. However, most of the increase is tied to specific programs and salaries, leaving the district to fill in gaps with local funding. Most of Battle Ground's increase in state revenues is for a state-mandated 2.3 percent cost of living adjustment (COLA), 15 percent increase in employer retirement contributions, and nine percent benefit increases for state-funded staff. The district must provide state-mandated salary increases to unfunded staff, and some areas have experienced increased costs over last year. For example, transportation costs are up 10.5% percent.
The majority of the district's revenue increase will come from the state ($9.4 million) and local levy funds ($2.9 million). The Washington Legislature approved additional funding for school districts for cost of living and benefit increases, class-size reduction, and to cover maintenance and supplies increases due to inflation. Battle Ground Public Schools receives about 74 percent of its revenues from state funding. The district also receives federal funds, local levy dollars, and money from other local, non-tax sources.
Even though the Legislature approved a two-year budget for the state, questions still remain about next year's education funding and how districts will need to categorize future spending.
More information about the district's budget presentation for the school board is available online.