BSD budget adopted, looks bad for 2011

The newly appointed director to the Bremerton School District Board of Directors, Carolynn Perkins, attended her first meeting Aug. 6 at BSD headquarters and took the oath of office before settling in to discuss the 2009-10 budget.

According to Director of Finance and Operations Wayne Lindberg, BSD’s budget concerns five funds: the General Fund, which includes ordinary day-to-day operation; the Transportation Vehicle Fund, for school bus acquisition and repair; the Capital Projects Fund, concerning construction projects; the Debt Service Fund, which provides for the redemption of outstanding bonds and interest payments associated with those bonds; and the Associated Student Body Fund, which is funded by student fees and activity gate fees.

The majority of funding for schools and school programs for the district comes from the state’s general and special purpose funds. These funds are based on the number of full-time students in the district. One of the biggest challenges for BSD of late has been a rapid decline in students from 5,937 in the 1997-98 school year to 4,996 for 2009-10.

Other funding sources for the district are local taxes, local non-tax monies, federal special purpose funds and revenues from agencies other than the Office of the Superintendent of Public Education.

Funding sources for school systems have been reduced tremendously due to the economic downturn which is affecting state budgets as well.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 has provided the state with stimulus funds to alleviate some of the reductions in their own budget, but a shortfall of more than $405,000 still exists.

State Legislature also granted no Cost Of Living Allowance increases for employees and cut one Learning Improvement Day, reducing teacher contracts to 181 days. Student achievement funds also have been reduced from $528 per student to only $132, which will cost the district almost $1.6 million.

Despite the cuts, the budget has been balanced for 2009-10 with minimal reductions in staff and programs.

However, federal funding through stimulus dollars will end September 2011, creating a “funding cliff” that will result in “significant cuts to all school districts.”

“It will result in major cuts to programs and services and increases in class size,” Lindberg said.

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