Legislative Session Ends

On July 2, 2009, in Budget, by Dr. Keen

The legislative session finally ended on June 30. The media have reported some results but only in general terms. Yes, Westfield Washington Schools will receive some additional money, but that is because we are a growing school district with more students, not more money per student. In fact, at the end of 2011, we will receive fewer dollars per student than in 2009.

Given the current state of our economy, we do feel fortunate to receive any additional money. This per student money is general fund money, used primarily for staffing. In fact 87% of these dollars goes to pay for staff. However, we will have more students and limited additional money meaning we will have to be very careful with hiring.

The state dictates the way money is allocated to school districts by restricting money in separate funds. For instance, capital fund money cant be use to add staff, but can be used to purchase needed technology “ different pots of money that cant be mixed.

Next update “ early August, back-to-school.


Stimulus Package

On March 20, 2009, in Budget, Technology, by Dr. Keen

With the passage of the stimulus package, I would like to update you on how the package will probably impact our schools. Through prudent budgeting, we are in relatively good financial shape, but unsure of the total impact of the property tax caps that fully phase in next year. We do not anticipate cutting our teaching staff, but we will cautiously and carefully approach adding staff since the stimulus package is only for two years and we do not want to create continuing costs in our budget. We believe the stimulus package will help reinforce our financial stability, but there should be some flexibility with the funds to consider one-time expenditures that impact students and do not create ongoing expenses. These would probably be in the area of technology. We will also look at capital investments that reduce operating costs, such as geothermal energy for our high school. Hopefully, the economy will turn soon, but we want to maintain quality for the long term.