EAST WENATCHEE — Eastmont School District’s proposed budget for next year includes a bump in payroll costs, a plan to buy five new buses and levy law changes that could boost revenues.
Eastmont School Board and community members have a chance to weigh in on the plan Monday during a public hearing set for 5:30 p.m. in the basement board room at the district office, 800 Eastmont Ave.
The proposed $85.4 million general fund expenditures are about $2.3 million more than what was budgeted for the 2018-19 school year, a 2.9 percent increase. Projected revenues are up about $4 million, but that still leaves a budget deficit of about $360,000 that is expected to come from the reserve account.
That’s less than the district had to pull from its reserve this year in the wake of the state’s change in funding formula.
The reserves remain strong, though, at about $13 million or 11 percent of the budget.
The biggest changes in next year’s revenues and expenditures include:
A tweak to the levy law that allows the district to collect 100 percent of its voter-approved levy amount, a total of $10,216,605. Collection of that amount is estimated to cost taxpayers $2.21 for every $1,000 of assessed value. Last year, the levy collections were capped at a rate of $1.50.
A bump in employee costs, which comprise 84 percent of the general fund budget. The increases come from a mix of negotiated salary increases for staff, combined with changes to the state-negotiated and administered health benefits package.
School administrators are asking the board and the public for input on funding some strategic plan initiatives, particularly the kindergarten through seventh grade art program, the district-wide music program, STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) programs and security and safety efforts.
The other district operating funds — capital, transportation, debt service and Associated Student Body — also have some projects on the books.
That includes spending $871,000 to buy five buses (one propane powered and four transit buses), leaving some wiggle room to add surplus buses from other school districts if the opportunity arises.
Eastmont also is in the midst of ongoing construction projects aimed at reducing class sizes, grade reconfiguration and some safety improvements.
Armed with feedback from the hearing and board members, district administrators will make adjustments to the funding plan. The budget will be brought back to the board for final approval July 15.