School board approves $90 million budget

"The Central Kitsap School Board Wednesday finalized the district's budget for the 2000-2001 school year.Few changes were made to the initial budget proposal that was introduced at the June 28 school board meeting as the spending plan was unanimously approved.It (the budget) is important because it really is the operating plan of the district in financial terms, said Assistant Superintendent Gary Powell. The district is required by state law to have a balanced budget.The district plans to spend more than $90 million of its projected $92 million in revenue for the upcoming school year, the most the school district ever has spent. The district spends around $6,123 per student, which is below the state average of $6,292.We're not rich and happy, but we're doing more with less, Powell said. The budget includes 18 fewer teachers for next year, a result of a decrease in enrollment. According to the budget document, however, the district will maintain current teacher-to-student ratios.The budget also includes $250,000 to purchase new buses, allowing the district to retire some buses made before 1977. State funding covers only 70 percent of what the district needs for transportation, officials said. Powell said the district has high transportation costs because it covers such a large area and has to drive farther to go shorter actual distances.As the crow flies, a student might be a mile away, but we have to drive five miles, Powell said.The budget also recommends that the district utilize all $500,000 of heavy impact funding it gets from the federal government. Central Kitsap is eligible for heavy impact funding because a large percentage of its student have parents who serve in the military. Administrators are unsure if the district will have to enact any of the proposed spending cuts discussed in May. The district had planned to cut several programs, including some security, after enrollment projections predicted that the district would receive $400,000 less from the state than last year. The status of those cuts will become more clear when 2000-2001 enrollment figures are revealed in September and October."

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