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Dec. 9, 2022

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Camas proposes school budget

Board to hold public meeting, take vote at Aug. 22 hearing

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The Camas School District proposes a $118.5 million general fund budget for next year, saying it “represents an important transition point as the district continues to identify the post-COVID norm.”

The 2022-23 budget projects the district will spend $118.5 million from its general fund over the next school year, “driven primarily by personnel costs,” with about 88 percent of the district’s 2022-23 general fund expenditures paying the salaries and benefits for 482 certificated and 284 classified staff members, with the remaining 12 percent paying for materials, supplies and other costs.

“While the budget contains minimal staffing growth, record inflation is driving increases in both personnel costs and supplies (and) services,” the district stated in its 2022-23 budget introduction.

The district’s 2022-23 expenditures will likely increase 6.6 percent over the 2021-22 costs.

The budget, as well as its projected budgets for the 2023-24, 2024-25 and 2025-26 school years, are posted on the district’s website. The school board will hold a public hearing and vote on the proposed 2022-23 budget at its Aug. 22 board meeting.

The school board is expected to use $5.2 million from the district’s general fund reserves to help cover its 2022-23 expenses, which would draw the school district’s fund balance down to $12.8 million going into the 2023-24 school year.

The district’s finance director, Jasen McEathron, told the school board in April that decreased enrollment rates are leading to “a new age for the Camas School District.”

“Enrollment is the single biggest thing that drives our funding … We were experiencing 2.5 percent growth before the (COVID-19) pandemic. Now we’re forecasting pretty modest growth over the course of the next four years, from 0.65 to 0.8 percent per year, so it’s definitely different,” McEathron told the board on April 18.

The school district expects to have 6,927 full-time equivalent (FTE) students, excluding 175 Running Start students for the 2022-23 school year.

A $17.45 million local enrichment levy — part of the three-year replacement levy passed by Camas School District voters in February 2021 — accounts for nearly 16 percent of the district’s 2022-23 revenues and will help the district pay for additional staff positions, pay and benefits ($10.5 million), special services ($3.2 million), extracurricular activities such as sports programs ($2.05 million), food services ($1.05 million) and transportation ($625,903).

“About 77 percent of our revenues come from the state of Washington, with a small portion from the federal government, so the local levy is an important piece of our revenue budget,” McEathron said.

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