The Bellevue School District’s board meets at the Wilburton Instructional Service Center two Tuesdays of the month. File photo

Bellevue School Board adopts $301.5 million budget

The Bellevue School District’s Board approved a $301.5 million budget for the 2017-18 school year at a board meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 29.

District officials estimate $298 million in revenue and will transfer $3.1 million from general fund reserves to offset a $4.2 million deficit.

The budget is broken up into several categories. The district will invest $174 million into basic education, $37 million into district support, $39 million into special education, $18 million into categorical grants, $12 million into day care, $9 million into transportation, $7 million into food services, and $6 million into vocational education.

Teachers will receive a 2.3 percent Cost-of-Living Adjustment raise, a 2 percent increase in employer pension contribution, and a $40 per month increase in benefit funding. The budget will also allow the district to hire 18 more full-time teachers, seven of which will be for elementary schools and six for special education.

The additional teachers are needed because, according to the district, enrollment is projected to increase by 1.5 percent from last year for a total of 20,355 students. Last year saw 20,001 students.

Superintendent Dr. Ivan Duran, who joined the school district in July 2017, said in a summary of the budget that revenue and expenditures have grown by an average of 9 percent in the last three years.

“In each of the last three years, we have anticipated spending down a portion of the reserves,” he said in the summary.”However, year end actuals thus far have resulted in our general fund reserves remaining relatively flat.”

Yet, this year’s budget was able to accomplish quite a bit.

The budget will reduce career and technical education class sizes while increasing materials an supplies for students. Middle and high school instructional hours for English-language learners in the Transitional Bilingual Program will be increased and the district will change the funding model to staff 17 students per full-time teacher in kindergarten through third grade.

Special education is also receiving a boost – $3.2 million – through the district’s new model of inclusion, which puts special education students into general education classrooms.

The district is also planning on selling $100 million in bonds in spring 2018.

For more information on the Bellevue School District budget, visit www.bsd405.org.

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