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Palouse School District Budget Update

SUPERINTENDENT'S CORNER

April 18, 2019 UPDATE

Future Financial Stability of the Palouse School District

With the news being filled with multi-million dollar school deficits and major layoffs, I felt another update for Palouse Schools might be warranted.

Spokane Schools - $31 million shortfall - 325 position layoffs.

Mead Schools      - $12 million shortfall - 70 position layoffs.

Asotin-Anatone Schools -   $ 454,000. shortfall

 

FUNDING RECAP:

The last 2 years brought major changes to school funding from the legislature.

Our local voted levy was limited and drastically reduced by 60%.  (510,000. to under 200,000.)

State school taxes for tax payers were increased.

Major employee salary increases were mandated. (Salary schedules are posted on our WEB page under Services -Business Office - Salaries).

SEBB (School Employee Benefit Board) – a state insurance pool to take effect January 2020 was mandated.  Estimated cost of SEBB implementation in Palouse is $135,000.  

Schools were mandated to provide a 4 year budget projection. (chart below)

 

PALOUSE SITUATION   4 Year Budget Projections    

18-19                     19-20                     20-21                         21-22                                

3,312,177.            3,444,664.            3,582,450.            3,725,749.          Projected expenditures (cost)

3,227,341.            3,213,535.            3,330,601.            3,452,138.            Projected funding (income)

(84,836.)           (231,129.)             (251,849.)             (273,611.)         Projected Loss (each year) 

415,164.             235,502.              (16,347.)               (257,264.)          Projected EFB – Ending Fund Balance

 

EFB – Ending Fund Balance

This is the reserve or a safety net we try to maintain at the end of the fiscal budget year (Sept. – August).  It is like a revolving savings account that we try to maintain in order to cover any emergencies such as an enrollment decline, unexpected facility repairs, loss of funding, staffing needs etc.  Unfortunately, if something does not drastically change, our funding projections indicate we will lose this safety net in 2 years and in 3 years face a deficit of $250,000.

INSURING & PROTECTING OUR FUTURE

We are hoping the current legislative session will help defray our projected deficits, however we cannot count on this so must proceed cautiously.

We will continue with the process in place the last 4 years of trying to absorb the duties of anyone retiring or leaving the district. This practice has allowed us a gradual reduction of cost and has put us in a much better position starting this decline.  Had we not been making these adjustments the deficits above would be greatly amplified and likely Palouse would also be in the headlines this year, instead of a year or 2 down the road.

WHAT CAN YOU DO?

As Superintendent a portion of my responsibilities are to advocate for school funding, but I am only one voice and as a hired voice I may not be taken as seriously (because it’s my job) as you the tax payer might be taken.   So it is important that you visit with our local Representatives and Senators to advocate for your school district and adequate funding.

Another issue we should be aware of if we need to travel this path together in the future is that funding issues, cuts etc. cannot be viewed as personal.  A school in Spokane had some students walkout to protest and show support for teachers being considered for layoff. Although perhaps noble, a position is up for reduction in order for the school to remain open and fiscally viable.  Survival can mean cutting programs and student opportunities, but this usually equates to positions.  Human resources (jobs) are the biggest expense schools have as they account for about 75-80% of all dollars, hence this is where the most funding can be saved while maintaining student opportunities as a priority.  

Please feel free to stop by for a visit or to contact me for further information! 

Have a great day!

Calvin L. Johnson, Supt.

cjohnson@garpal.net

509-878-1921