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Federal Way schools juggle budgets

In this 2006 file photo, Federal Way school bus drivers embark on their routes at the break of dawn. There are currently 147 operational buses, with the oldest bus in the fleet first hitting the road back in 1987. - Mirror file photo
In this 2006 file photo, Federal Way school bus drivers embark on their routes at the break of dawn. There are currently 147 operational buses, with the oldest bus in the fleet first hitting the road back in 1987.
— image credit: Mirror file photo

How do Federal Way schools budget your tax dollars?

With a positive general fund budget recommendation last month, Federal Way Public Schools (FWPS) assistant superintendent of business services Sally McLean spoke about the other budgets that also get approved during the lengthy process.

These “other” budgets include the Transportation Vehicle Fund, the Associated Student Body (ASB) fund, the Debt Service Fund, and the Capital Projects Fund. McLean said that there are no real significant changes to these funds, although the Transportation Vehicle Fund will have one difference than in years past.

“The big change in the Transportation Vehicle Fund is when we will receive the state depreciation funds for our school buses,” McLean said at the school board’s June 12 meeting. “Typically, that has been allocated to districts at the beginning of the year, in September or October. That has been shifted to the Aug. 31, 2013, apportionment payment. For all intents and purposes, the revenue we will be getting from the state next year is not available for us to spend during the 2012-13 school year.”

In effect, the revenue the district receives from the state next year will not be available to use until the 2013-14 budget cycle.

McLean reviewed the district’s fleet, saying there are currently 147 operational buses, with the oldest bus in the fleet first hitting the road back in 1987. The average age of the buses currently serving Federal Way students is 10 years. Of those 147 buses, 50 are fully depreciated, which means the district will no longer receive revenue from the state for those vehicles. The district plans to buy an additional four new buses next year, costing $480,000. According to McLean, $110,000 will be set aside for contingencies that may arise during next year.

For the ASB fund, McLean said there was not much to report. The beginning fund balance is $584,500, McLean is anticipating $4,116,800 in revenues, $4,161,000 in expenditures, and an ending fund balance of $540,030.

There were no significant issues with the Debt Service Fund, which is a combination of voter authorized tax collections and is also related to the district’s bonds, McLean reported.

“We are assuming that we will not be issuing any additional voter authorized bonds during the 2012-13 school year. We have approximately $12 million remaining from the previously authorized $149 million bond issue, which we have talked about earmarking for part of the construction for Federal Way High School,” she said.

In the Capital Projects Fund, McLean said the previously mentioned $149 million bond issue approved by voters is in its sixth year, and much of the construction funded by that bond issue is coming to a close. One change will be a bump in the district’s Six-Year Technology Levy, from $1.8 million to $4.4 million, an increase that was voter approved.

The final public hearing and budget adoption is slated for June 26.

 

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