Port Angeles schools expect to cover future shortfall with reserves

By Arwyn Rice
Peninsula Daily News

New board meeting schedule?

PORT ANGELES — The Port Angeles School Board has tabled the idea of changing the day of regularly scheduled board meetings in the 2013-2014 school year to Thursdays instead of Mondays.

The first suggestion, to meet the first and third Thursdays of each month, was rejected because of scheduling conflicts for board member Steve Baxter.

A schedule of second and fourth Thursdays was suggested, and the revised board calendar is expected to be brought back for a vote at the April 8 board meeting at 7 p.m. at the Central Services Building, 216 E. Fourth St.

The new schedule would begin in July.

Meetings that conflict with late-month holidays, such as Thanksgiving and Christmas, could be rescheduled to a week earlier, board members suggested.

Moving the board meeting to Thursdays would allow the district to make changes to meeting agendas more easily than the current schedule, in which agendas are finalized by Friday and changes cannot be considered until just before Monday meetings, said Superintendent Jane Pryne.

The board’s first meeting of the month for the current second-and-fourth-Monday schedule is held at the Central Services Building, and the second meeting location rotates between the district’s school buildings, with a presentation from that school’s principal on its current achievements, challenges and activities.

The board also approved the 2013-2014 school calendar, with a beginning date of Sept. 3; winter break Dec. 23 to Jan. 3; spring break March 31, 2014, to May 4, 2014; and the final school day June 13, 2014.

Two snow day makeup days are scheduled for June 16 and 17, 2014, if needed.

Peninsula Daily News
PORT ANGELES — The Port Angeles School District is expected to end the 2012-2013 school year more than $276,000 in the hole, with the difference paid with reserves, the School Board was told this week.

Kelly Pearson, director of finance and operations, presented midyear budget projections to the board Monday that show that the district’s total revenues will be $36,616,917, while expenses are expected to reach $36,893,040, a difference of $276,123.

The 0.7 percent shortfall includes both lower-than-expected revenues and higher-than-expected expenses, and was anticipated by the School Board, staff members said.

The district is currently even more over budget, by more than $600,000, but Pearson said the higher deficit amount is not expected to continue to the end of the school year.

“March is the lowest point of the year. Then, the taxes come in,” she said.

Pearson said the district currently has a “committed fund balance” of $1.4 million, about 4 percent of the district’s annual budget, which cannot be spent.

‘Undesignated, unreserved’ funds

She said an additional $1.8 million of the general fund balance is considered “undesignated, unreserved” funds, which will be used to pay for the shortfall.

“The balance was built up a few years ago in thoughtful anticipation of such a possibility,” Pearson said.

The district is expecting a 5 percent to 7 percent cut in federal funds as a result of sequestration.

Existing district levies help make up for some of these funding losses, Pearson said.

“Without local support in the form of levy dollars, we would have to make some difficult cuts that would certainly impact our ability to provide the quality of education that our community has come to expect,” she said.

Enrollment is slightly higher than anticipated.

On March 1, the district counted an average of 3,423.26 full-time-equivalent enrolled students, 21.45 more than estimated.

According to the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction records, the district averages $9,473 in annual spending per student, with 70 percent of funds being spent in the classroom, 12 percent for district and building administration, 8 percent in maintenance and operations, and 4 percent each for food services and transportation expenses.

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Reporter Arwyn Rice can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5070, or at arwyn.rice@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: March 28. 2013 5:32PM
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