School district increases budget by a million
The Grand Coulee Dam School District board passed its 2013-14 budget Monday night after a public hearing on the matter. No one showed up to question the $9.5 million budget.
The new budget exceeds the one for the 2012-13 school year by more than a million dollars.
Superintendent Dennis Carlson said the increased revenue comes largely from the way the state is funding education.
The state Legislature has responded to the Washington State Supreme Court’s ruling that Washington is underfunding education and will pay districts about $7,000 per student for the next two years, compared to the $5,600 per student previously paid.
Of further benefit to the district here is that the state is funding all-day kindergartens. Prior to this next year, the local district funded the second half-day because the school board felt it important to give the young students a strong start. The state-funded all-day kindergarten will save the district about $160,000.
This next year, the district will have three kindergarten classes, three first grades and will also start a pre-school for non-special education students.
The board learned Monday night that some 14 have indicated interest.
The state has given teachers, non-certificated employees and administrators back the cut made to their salaries two years ago. Teachers and non-certificated employees were cut 1.9 percent and administrators 3 percent.
After a closed session Monday night, the school board extended Carlson’s contract for another year. Carlson just completed his third year at the end of June, and is now under contract through June 30, 2015.
The board wanted to have him continue through the opening year of the new K-12 school complex. The schedule, at this point, indicates that students will occupy the new school sometime in October, 2014.
For the school year just completed, the district budget was $8.277 million.