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Rainy day fund balances Coupeville school budget

Monday’s public hearing on the Coupeville School District’s 2010-2011 budget draft brought nothing but praise for school officials.

Superintendent Patty Page said that business manager Janet Fisher logged many hours to make it the best budget possible.

“She’s been working feverishly to get it done not only in the timeline, but to get it done right,” Page said.

The total projected revenues for the 2010-2011 school year add up to a little more than $9.8 million and the budgeted expenditures exceed that amount by about $576,000. So the district will need to supplement the budget with money from its rainy day or savings fund, which currently has about $1.4 million.

Page said the district tried to be thoughtful going into this year because they knew they’d have state cuts and would need to be saving money. She said several things occurred that will allow the district to have a school year with no staff cuts or programs reductions: Officials were proactive in their planning, a mild winter and rate adjustment from Puget Sound Energy allowed them to save on electricity, they underprojected enrollment and schools were conservative in their spending.

“In a tight time when most people are making reductions and hurting, I’m feeling that we’re in the best of the worst shape that we could be,” Page said.

Fisher told the board members that the Educational Service District had already approved the budget draft. Because there was no negative feedback from members of the board or the public, it’s likely that the budget will get approved as scheduled at the next board meeting on July 19.

However, Page said she expects next year’s budget to be a little more difficult to put together.

“Are we likely to have to cut back?” Page asked. “I think so. Each year we hope that the Legislature will be able to stabilize and support us, but the reality is that we’ve got some rough years ahead of us.”

Page and Fisher said this year’s solid budget should help them in following years and that they’ll continue to be proactive, not reactive.

Board member Kathleen Anderson commended the women on their budget.

“It looks real good,” she said.

The overall projected decrease in funding for this year was $338,939 due to decreases in levy revenues, local revenues (fees, fines, food services, etc.) and grant revenues.

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