Preliminary budget for school district shows major staff increases

The Bellevue School District’s general fund budget for the coming school year includes a $14 million increase in revenues — and a $17 million increase in expenditures.

But a greater proportion of money spent will be invested into basic education and student services, Melissa deVita said to the school board Tuesday.

The deputy superintendent of finance and operations reported on the district’s preliminary general fund budget at the Aug. 5 school board meeting. The board will vote on a final budget later in August.

“Significantly more money is being spent in basic education,” deVita said. “Less money is being spent in districtwide support. So we continue as a district to put money in our schools and in our students, which is obviously one of our primary missions.”

The revenue increases will come from full state funding of transportation, enrollment increases to an expected total of more than 19,000 students and funding from the Educational Programs and Operations levy approved by voters in February.

The budget anticipates nearly $229 million in revenue versus $233.9 million in expenditures.

So what accounts for the expense increases?

The greatest of the new expenditures is nearly $4.6 million earmarked for more than 50 additional full-time teachers in general education and music. The amount is closely followed by more than $4.1 million for salary changes to current positions in the district.

More than six full-time special education teachers and “other resources” — outsourced contracts and a para-educational coordinator among other costs, deVita said — will be added at a cost of nearly $1.5 million. Additional assistant principals and deans will be added to school campuses for more than $1.4 million.

Other staff additions include nearly seven secondary counselors and three new district-level positions: executive director of schools, district athletic director and leader of graduation success. Schools will see more instructional support staff added, including technology specialists and reading interventionists.

A contingency fund was earmarked for five full-time teachers in case enrollment spiked to greater numbers than expected.

The budget deficit means the district will need to make up the gap with reserve funds, to the tune of almost $5 million.

“We will be spending down our reserve by nearly $4.99 million,” deVita said. “$1.5 million of that is one-time expenditures, $3.5 million is ongoing expenses. We expect to cover the ongoing expenditures with increases in levy funding in the 2015-2016 school years.”

The Bellevue school board is scheduled to vote on a final budget for the 2014-2015 school year at its Aug. 26 meeting.

A draft of the budget can be found at the district’s Financial Services page.

CORRECTION: A version of this story that appeared in print included an error regarding enrollment increases in the school district. As noted above, enrollment is expected to increase to a total of more than 19,000 students, not by that amount.

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