School board passes $24 million budget

The Sequim school board on Aug. 20 approved an operating budget for the 2009-2010 academic year that anticipates more than $24.6 million in spending.

The school's annual financial plan is about $460,000 less than the district's 2008-2009 budget.

Sequim School District officials proposed more than $1 million in budget cuts earlier this year after Washington state legislators made severe cuts to public school funding but were able to restore several programs and employee positions after receiving federal stimulus funds.

No public


Four board directors - John Bridge, Bev Horan, Walter Johnson and Virginia O'Neil - unanimously approved the budget; board president Sarah Bedinger was absent.

The budget, one that changed little from superintendent Bill Bentley's proposals in late July, received no comments from the public at the Aug. 20 hearing.

More than 70 percent of district spending ($17.7 million) goes to teaching activities and teacher support.

Almost 2,800


Sequim School District's newest budget also anticipates an enrollment of about 2,790 full-time students, a slight drop from the previous school year.

But that number could change dramatically and district officials won't know until after the first week of school or so, Bentley said.

"This year could be unlike any other year (with enrollment)," Bentley said, noting the poor Washington state economy may have forced families to move out of the district.

Enrollment is a key figure for Washington schools: Districts receive funds per student from the state.

The budget proposal keeps about $2.4 million in the district's general fund balance; like funds kept in a checking account, the general fund is a reserve of dollars the district carries from year to year.

Reach Michael Dashiell at

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