School board approves $20.4 million budget
The Blaine school board approved a $20.4 million budget at their regular meeting Monday night, a figure that is slightly above anticipated revenues of roughly $20 million.
The budget is slightly more than anticipated revenues because revenues are deliberately being estimated conservatively, said superintendent Ron Spanjer.
“An unanticipated drop in enrollment last year was a significant factor in having to make a mid-course correction, so this year we’re budgeting for 47 fewer kids because we’d rather be on that side of the equation than being caught off guard,” he said.
“The good news is that because of higher than expected enrollment 2004-2006 we have the general fund balance to deal with this,” he continued.
In 2006-2007 the district had 30 fewer students than anticipated.
This next year the budget anticipates an enrollment number that is 47 students less than last year, but it will probably be higher than that.
“The enrollment figures are always a variable,” Spanjer said, “but the best case scenario is that even if enrollment just stays the same then about $250,000 of the $350,000 deficit will disappear, and we have the general fund balance to handle this for another year after this next one without threatening program.”.
The district recently recieved a fiscal review done by the Washington Association of School Administrators (WASA), at the district’s request.
The study was done by Elaine Urich, a former school business administrator, whose detailed study recommended that the Blaine school district “start early and involve as many as possible, especially if enrollment begins to decline and you need to begin cutting back.
Spanjer also outlined some changes in the administrative set-up for the one-room, one teacher kindergarten through second grade program at Point Roberts, where he plans to take an active role.
“It’s an opportunity for me to understand a bit more about the program at Point Roberts by becoming more directly involved in planning and other administrative details.
Nancy Bakrich will still have a role there but she has a full-time role here at Blaine Primary where enrollment is expanding.”
“The question,” Spanjer said, “is how best we can support the one teacher, one-room K-2 school at Point Roberts, and the most efficient way for me to learn about it is to be involved in it directly.”
The meeting was attended by Campbell McClusky of Point Roberts, who along with Blaine resident Chuck Green is a candidate for the district one school board seat being vacated by Shelly Button at the end of the year.
The board meets next on August 27 at 7 p.m.