B.G. school budget to be rolled out Thursday

Proposed spending plan basically the same as last year's




The Battle Ground school district will hold a public hearing on its proposed budget for the coming school year at 5:30 p.m. Thursday at the old Lewisville Middle School, in building C.

The proposal district officials will present includes only minor changes over last year’s budget, as the state didn’t cut the money it sends to districts for the first time in many years.

Battle Ground Public Schools plans to spend $120.8 million this school year, about 1 percent more than it budgeted last year, said MaryBeth Lynn, assistant superintendent for finance and school operations. The district expects to take in about $121.5 million, which also is about a 1 percent increase.

It will use $150,000 of the budget surplus to pay down debts, and put $500,000 into its reserves to work toward bringing its fund balance up to 4 percent of the annual budget, Lynn said. The school board mandated that ongoing effort two years ago, after district savings accounts nearly had dipped to zero in the wake of a 2006 levy failure.

The district expects to end the next school year with a fund balance of about $1.5 million, which would be about 1.2 percent of the budget, Lynn said.

Battle Ground expects to educate 170 more students than it did last year, which means total enrollment would be nearly 12,500.

More students will require more teachers. Battle Ground is budgeting to add the equivalent of 18 full-time certificated employees, a term that includes teachers, principals and librarians.

That will bring the total number of certificated employees in the district to 809. Salaries for those workers will total $50.8 million. Teaching will take up 59.8 percent of all district expenditures next year.

Superintendent Shonny Bria will receive a salary of $154,700, same as last year, Lynn said.

All certificated employees, including the superintendent, will continue to work for a salary that the state slashed by 1.9 percent last year. The state didn’t restore that cut for next year, and unions representing district employees agreed to maintain it, Lynn said.

Property owners living within the boundaries of the Battle Ground school district are estimated to pay about the same portion of their property taxes to schools as they are this year, which is $4.81 per $1,000 in property value. That includes payments toward the operations levy and construction bonds.

Jacques Von Lunen: 360-735-4515; http://twitter.com/col_schools; jacques.vonlunen@columbian.com.