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Bickleton School Board approves $1.5 million budget

BICKLETON - When it comes to revenues and expenditures, the Bickleton School District has very little wiggle room.

Tuesday night, the Bickleton School Board approved a $1.5 million budget for 2005-06. The budget estimates that the difference between the revenues expected for the coming school year and the expenditures stands at $154.

"If we maintain things the way we did last year and live within our means, our budget will be healthy," Bickleton Business Manager and Administrative Assistant Judy Naught told board members.

Naught said the biggest concern for the district isn't necessarily how to pay for educational needs, but how to pay for day-to-day expenses.

"The most difficult thing is paying the lights, paying the heat," Naught said.

She added that she wished there was room in the budget to allow for building reserves that could be used for different capital projects.

"The only way to get funding for day-to-day operations is with a levy," Naught said.

She explained that there are only a couple of areas of the budget that are seeing some changes this year. Naught pointed to the Associated Student Body (ASB) fund, noting that two years ago the fund had a cash reserve of $32,000.

Naught explained when auditors looked at that, they reminded the district that it is not a bank and that money in that fund shouldn't just sit there and not be spent. Naught said since then the district has been working to slowly use the ASB fund, and try to keep the ending fund balance at $17,500.

Naught said although the fund balance is more acceptable, it also means if the district wants to do any large project using ASB funds, a fund-raiser will have to be conducted.

In the school district's capital projects fund, which is sitting at $7,500, Naught said nothing is planned for those funds during the 2005-06 school year. She added that the money is simply earning interest, as the school district has no capital projects on the schedule.

Naught explained another change comes in the form of the the expected ending fund balance for the 2004-05 school year, which was originally estimated at $202,000. She said the district has been very careful with expenditures over the past year, the ending fund balance is expected to end up being closer to $275,000. The ending fund balance for the 2004-05 school year becomes the beginning fund balance for the 2005-06 budget.

Naught also pointed out an increase in the district's special education budget. In 2004-05 the special education budget stood at $29,650. In 2005-06, that amount is set to increase to $31,867.

Naught said the district is going to be serving a special education child who needs a full-time para-professional this year.

"That's what we're here for, to educate," Naught said.

With little discussion, the Bickleton School Board voted Tuesday night to accept the 2005-06 budget. The budget will now be sent to Educational Service District 105, then on to the Washington State Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction.

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