Federal Way Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Tammy Campbell (left) discusses the importance of the district’s 2017-18 budget at the Aug. 29 meeting. JEROD YOUNG, the Mirror

School board approves 2017-18 $323.7 million general fund budget

To keep up with today’s fast-paced educational landscape, money must be spent.

Federal Way Public Schools is no exception.

The Federal Way school board approved and adopted its $323.7 million General Fund budget at its Aug. 29 meeting.

The school district will take in an anticipated $16 million in new revenue, but it will spend $28.8 million on a variety of new expenditures, including $22.2 million more on teachers and staff throughout the district.

“The alignment of resources strengthens system alignment to the district strategic plan in an effort to positively impact outcomes for our 23,500 scholars,” Federal Way Public Schools spokeswoman Kassie Swenson said in an email.

The district made aligning and strengthening its resources a point when crafting this year’s budget.

To do that, a portion of the money from the 2017-18 budget will go toward hiring three additional behavioral specialists, for which the Federal Way Public Schools has a dire need.

By making more behavioral specialists available to students who require them on a regular basis, school staff can teach their classes in a more fluid manner.

“Specific research-based strategies are implemented to support a school-wide behavior-management system that increase scholars’ voice in restorative practices and access to core instruction by decreasing time out of class,” Swenson said. “Behavior specialists will help facilitate positive behavior intervention supports and other established strategies across the district in a systemic, consistent and aligned manner.”

Funds from this year’s budget will fill multiple health needs as well. The district will be able to increase its school nurse staff by 14 percent, which also allows the district to keep health rooms covered with at least five full-time employees.

Finally, the money will allow Federal Way Public Schools to add a staff member for its social-emotional learning program to better serve students who require that.

The district estimated the cost of these additional staff members at $999,000.

The budget also provides for in-house legal counsel, something the district and Superintendent Dr. Tammy Campbell have wanted for some time.

The addition of district-based attorneys will allow for Federal Way Public Schools to mitigate costs of independent counsel. In addition to legal counsel, the district plans to increase school security staff and add two additional custodians for a total cost of $428,500.

“With scholars and staff in over 41 locations across 35-square miles, and in support of creating safe school climates, providing security addresses a wide-range of needs for scholars, staff, families and communities in our schools,” Swenson said.

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