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Othello SD passes 2022-23 budget

by CHERYL SCHWEIZER
Staff Writer | August 29, 2022 1:20 AM

OTHELLO — The Othello School District will operate with a $91.87 million budget for the 2022-23 school year. Othello School Board members approved the budget proposal at the Aug. 21 regular meeting.

The vote was unanimous.

The budget includes a general fund of about $87.65 million, which covers most expenses and operations. The general fund includes most staff salaries and benefits as well as most school operations.

Amy Suarez, OSD executive director of business services, went over budget details in a presentation to the school board Aug. 8.

In Washington, school budgets are based on projected enrollment, and Suarez said district officials are projecting an enrollment of the equivalent of 4,441 students. That’s 76 students more than the actual equivalent enrollment in the 2021-22 school year, she said.

The capital projects fund was budgeted at $900,000, and Suarez said that reflects the replacement of the roof on two schools. The debt service fund pays for bonds issued as part of the proposal approved by voters in 2007, Suarez said. The projected debt service budget is just under $2.5 million.

Suarez said the Associated Student Body fund is generated by the students for the students. It’s budgeted at about $435,000. The Transportation Vehicle Fund pays for new buses and was budgeted at about $416,000.

Suarez included a chart that showed enrollment growing from the 2009-10 school year to 2020-21. It has declined the last two years, but the projection for the coming school year anticipates it will return to about pre-pandemic levels, Suarez said.

District officials have managed to maintain staffing levels, even with the drop in enrollment, Suarez said. But enrollment is projected to drop slightly over the next few years, and if that happens the current staffing levels would be unsustainable, she said.

The TVF includes money to buy two new buses. Suarez said the price of buses has increased beyond what the district had saved to pay for them, and the purchase will require a transfer of about $150,000 from the general fund.

Cheryl Schweizer may be reached at cschweizer@columbiabasinherald.com.

Othello School District budget 2022-23

General fund: $87,654,000

Associated Student Body: $435,000

Debt service: $2,47000

Capital projects: $900,000

Transportation Vehicle Fund: $416,000

Note: Numbers above have been rounded to the nearest $1,000.

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