CKSD trying to squeeze more out of a minimal budget

With budget costs continually surpassing revenues, Central Kitsap School District officials are trying to get as much out of their money as they can.

During a study session last Wednesday, board members were given a list of renovation projects that need to be done throughout the schools, and were asked how to best complete these projects with the district’s limited funding.

The capital projects currently stand at close to $27 million, and the budget only has $10.5 million.

“We know we have $10.5 million,” said Greg Lynch, CKSD superintendent. “The question is how far can we stretch that.”

Although the district has relied on Heavy Impact Aid funds to help with such projects and to help balance minor budget deficiencies, the decrease in both enrollment and federally connected students is not bringing in as much money as in past years. If the enrollment of federally connected students continues to decline as it has been projected to do, CKSD could fall out of qualification of Heavy Impact Aid in the next few years.

Lynch said although the school district is currently falling out of the Heavy Impact Aid qualification, the effects of the monetary loss won’t be felt until 2010.

“We really need to wean ourselves off Heavy Impact Aid,” Lynch said.

District administrators have been working tirelessly on the 2007-08 budget that had an anticipated deficit of $3.9 million, which was reduced to $2.5 million after the decision to close Tracyton and Seabeck elementary schools was made.

Paul McNeill, CKSD Executive Director of Business and Oper-ations, said if the district does not see any funding from the federal level, projected deficits through 2012 could total more than $9 million.

An integrated priority list, which lists the school district programs and services, has been distributed to the community, highlighting the amounts of dollars saved if a certain program were to be cut. Although the list totals $2.3 million in possible cuts, if the school district were to eliminate everything on the list, it would save $900,000.

However, board members must decide on a list that will help to close the gap of the budget deficit, while maintaining strong district program offerings.

Additional budget options will be discussed at a special study session from 4:30 to 6 p.m. tonight at the Jenne-Wright Administration Center. A final budget adoption will not be made until Aug. 8.

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