WL-WV School Board adopts 2018-19 budget
Potential increases in state funding will not affect the West Linn-Wilsonville School District's 2018-19 budget. And while the school district has budgeted for eight additional staff for next school year, if more revenue comes in from the state the school budget would not go through another approval process. Instead, the budget guides where potential additional funds should be spent, for example adding teachers and mental health staff and resources.
Questions arose after board members caught wind of the state funding level increase of about $109,000 for the WL-WV School District, but Doug Middlestetter, WL-WV business manager, said it is not significant enough of a change to alter the budget document.
The current budget is based on the state funding level of $8.2 billion to support K-12 school districts from 2017-2019, and does not reflect the current $109,000 increase.
"To be honest, I wouldn't go in and change the whole document," Middlestetter said. "I promise you we will see three more changes, maybe four more changes or five, that could easily be greater than $100,000 — either up or down. It seems like a lot of money but the timing of that and the fact that the state is really early in the projection process for next year will keep me from revising the budget document just for that one figure."
Middlestetter added that the state recalculates student enrollment, revenue forecasts, among other variables, to generate new statements.
"Remember we started this projection back in December of 2017 so it's the first time we tell the state what we think next year's going to look like for us," he said. "The closer we get to the year, they (the state) keeps running the numbers and its very common for there to be changes."
Middlestetter said he believes next year's budget is solid.
"I feel that we stay light on our feet and as things change; we adapt to that, so it's not like we are done making changes to the way we operate," he said. "Remember that the budget is a tool we use to guide us when we move forward and to inform us as we make changes that are necessary."
Last year's budget was based on a state funding level of $7.8 billion, but state funds eventually increased by $400 million. Of that $400 million, the school district received $4.56 million in additional funds compared to what was budgeted. However, the school district did not change the budget, but instead used it as a guide to allocate the additional revenue, which mostly went to additional staff.
"We restored back individual school's spending budgets and we went ahead with continuing to add staff," WL-WV Superintendent Kathy Ludwig said. "We had 18 to 20 staff at our projection with $7.8 billion. We added 34.6 additional staff, so almost double and as soon as we got that number, throughout the summer we were adding staff to make sure we were not at the high end of our class size range."
WL-WV Vice Chair Chelsea Martin expressed her appreciation for everyone involved in the budget process and said she trusts that if there is additional revenue, it will be used for classroom teachers and other resources for district schools.
Also during the June 11 board meeting, the school board awarded the West Linn High School Main Entry Security Revisions Project to Cedar Mill Construction Company for a contract amount of $148,800. The budget set aside is $200,000 to add a separate entrance to the school that brings visitors directly into the main office. The work will occur over summer and is expected to be complete by the start of the 2018 school year.