The Federal Way Public Schools board unanimously adopted the 2014-15 general fund budget, along with four other budgets that range from ASB funds to transportation funds, during its meeting on Tuesday.
Jeri Carlson, executive director for the district’s business services, said the budgets presented to the board “honors our commitment to the taxpayers and parents of this community … and it makes targeted investments with our new state funding.”
“I’m proud to present the budget to you,” she said.
Carlson reviewed the various budgets, noting that state funding has been increasing in the few years since the state Supreme Court’s McCleary decision, which requires the state Legislature to “fully fund” education by 2018. Referencing a “budget to budget” comparison, Carlson illustrated that increased state funding is making things a bit easier for the district.
“Overall, our revenues are up $18.2 million, that’s roughly 8.1 percent,” she said. “If you look at the state basic [funding] and state special purpose [funding], that’s obviously the majority of the $18.2 million. Most of that really is made up of the McCleary decision, and the state taking steps to move toward fully funding education.”
In that budget to budget comparison, the state provided $120.8 million in 2013-14, compared to $130.9 for 14-15 in the basic funding category, while the change in the special purpose funding increased from $29.5 million to $36.5 million between the two school years.
For general fund expenditures, Carlson noted that those increased by approximately $20.4 million on a budget-to-budget basis. Most of that increase comes from the increased pay the district will now furnish to both teachers and non-teacher employees.
“Our certificated staff went up by 66 [full-time employees], our classified staff went up by 30 [full-time employees],” she noted. “Most of the certificated staff is investments in our classrooms and in our teachers … As far as the classified staff … some of that is represented by the expansion of our family liaisons going from eight schools to 16 schools, and also some targeted supports at our high schools for credit retrieval.”
Carlson added that “in addition to hiring more staff, we’ve been able to resume market midpoint implementation,” and that “overall our salaries went up by about 3 percent.” The district was forced to provide pay increases because “this is the sixth consecutive year where the state has provided no funding for salary increases,” she said.
“We’ve done a commendable job, I believe,” she said.
Carlson also shared information on the state of the district’s capital projects fund, which is used for the acquisition of property and buildings, or, for the next few years, the renovation/rebuild of Federal Way High School. As it sits, Carlson noted that expenditures in the capital projects fund are set for $40.6 million, with $25.2 million of that being taken up by the renovation project.
Approximately $5.13 million will be spent on technology, while $900,000 is set aside for a sewer project at Illahee Middle School. Another $703,000 is designated for security camera system upgrades throughout the district, while $304,000 will be spent on playground improvements at five schools. Finally, $200,000 is designated for a lighting/electrical project at Totem Middle School.
“You can see we’re slated to have an ending fund balance of $231,000,” Carlson said. “So we’re winding down in our capital projects, in terms of our cash flows. That’s something we’ll be monitoring very closely as Federal Way High School is ramping up.”
“I’m excited about moving forward next year with this budget,” Carlson concluded.
To learn more about the district’s budget, visit www.fwps.org.