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MLSD board passes '22-23 budget

by CHERYL SCHWEIZER
Staff Writer | August 29, 2022 5:42 PM

MOSES LAKE — The Moses Lake School District will operate with a budget of about $196.36 million for the 2022-23 school year. Moses Lake School Board members approved the budget on a unanimous vote and with no discussion at the regular meeting Thursday.

In Washington, basic school support funds from the state are allocated based on the number of students in school. However, because district officials don’t know how many students will actually enroll until school starts, school budgets throughout the state are based on a projection. In a July budget presentation, MLSD Director of Finance Stefanie Lowry said the projection for 2021-22 was higher than the actual enrollment.

“We were a little bit short of our projection, and that was an impact of about $75,000 to $80,000 in apportionment,” Lowry said.

The amount of money given to a school district is adjusted to reflect actual enrollment in January.

Moses Lake district officials projected enrollment of the equivalent of just under 8,600 students for 2022-23. Of those, enrollment is projected to be the equivalent of 8,028 students in preschool through high school.

Lowry said 2018-19 Pre-K-12 enrollment was the equivalent of 8,282 students and the equivalent of 8,401 students in 2019-20.

“So we’re still below our pre-COVID numbers,” Lowry said.

The general fund was budgeted at $145.52 million. The general fund pays for the majority of school operations, including most employee salaries and benefits as well as most expenses.

The capital projects fund is budgeted at $42.1 million. That includes money for the completion of Vanguard Academy, Lowry said, as well as the purchase of a portable classroom for the district’s preschool program.

“And initial planning and work to start looking at modernization and repairs for the high school, and (planning for) elementary (school) 12, including site purchase,” she said.

The debt service fund pays for revenue bonds sold as part of construction projects previously approved by district patrons. For 2022-23 debt service was projected at about $7.29 million.

The transportation vehicle fund was budgeted at about $599,000. Lowry said that includes the purchase of four buses that actually were ordered in February, but will not be paid for until September.

Lowry said that purchase saved the district a considerable amount of money since prices have risen substantially since February.

The Associated Student Body fund was budgeted at about $835,000. Lowry said the district added an ASB account for Vanguard Academy.

The budget includes the equivalent of about 220 students each in the district’s Running Start and MLSD Digital programs, and about 105 students in the Open Doors program.

Running Start allows qualifying high school juniors and seniors to attend college classes and receive both high school and college credits. The digital program allows students to access online classes. The Open Doors program is open to students who have fallen behind in their high school credits and need help catching up.

Cheryl Schweizer can be reached via email at cschweizer@columbiabasinherald.com. Stay tuned to more news by subscribing to the paper and visiting us at columbiabasinherald.com.

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