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$62 million budget to be pitched to school board

Sunnyside School District officials are expected to approve the 2008-09 budget later this month.

The district is anticipating $62,738,167 in revenues this year and is anticipating $60,904,893 in expenditures. Of that amount, more than $27 million will be spent on regular education, close to $5 million will be spent on special education and more than $1 million will be spent on vocational education. For compensatory education, $14,195,162 will be spent (programs indirectly related to education), $3,210,286 will be spent on other instructional programs that are supplemental to education, like Reading First, and $10,388,957 will be spent on support services. A good example of support services is the Choices program.

Like neighboring school districts, one of the challenges this year was funding cost of living increases and increases in retirement, according to the school district finance officer, Angela Watts.

Teachers will see a 5.13 percent cost of living increase in their paychecks and other staff will see an increase of 4.4 percent.

Where the district could once use monies from the general fund for thing like capital projects and busses, they no longer can, she said. "Because of the cost of living allowance and because of the cost of doing business we're no longer able to subsidize (those)."

Because of that, $700,000 was cut from capital projects and $300,000 cut from transportation.

Watts said that an additional $400,000 has been factored into the preliminary budget to address the rising costs of utilities, like gas, natural gas and electricity.

The general fund will also be impacted by $500,000 in expenditures to special education, because special education is not fully funded by federal and state dollars, Watts said.

The school district received a $50,000 grant from the Department of Social Health Services for the Child Protective Services Family Liaison program, which is aimed at keeping foster children in their local communities.

Watts said no grants have expired this coming school year.

Projected enrollment this year in the Sunnyside School District is 5,620 students. The district plans to employee 410 certificated staff and 270 classified employees.

Watts said there are no anticipated staff increases, but there will be some changes to buildings, departments and offices.

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