LA CONNER — The La Conner School Board on Monday approved the school district’s 2019-2020 operating budget, which will have the district drawing from its reserves.
The district is expecting about $12.9 million in revenue and about $13.1 million in expenses.
While revenue is up by about $1 million from the district’s last budget, the district will have to draw about $225,000 from its reserves, Business and Operations Director Bonnie Haley said.
The district expects to end the year with about $975,000 in reserve. Four-year projections show that number decreasing in coming years, with the district running in the red by the 2021-2022 school year, according to budget documents.
The need to draw from reserves is because of reduced revenue sources and increased expenditures.
The district is not eligible this year to collect Local Effort Assistance funds, which have traditionally gone to property poor districts, which are those in which properties in the district have assessed values that don’t generate a large enough amount of money through a levy.
The district has been eligible to collect those funds since the 2014 Great Wolf Lodge decision removed about 930 properties from the district’s tax rolls.
On the expenditure side, the district has seen salary increases for most of its employees, among other things.
Still, salary increases for about a dozen staff members remain in question after Monday’s meeting.
At its June meeting, the board postponed a discussion about a potential 3.8% salary increase for its administration team.
That team includes Superintendent Whitney Meissner, whom the district’s two employee unions issued no-confidence votes against in early June.
Because of the no-confidence votes, union representatives have pushed the board to not grant a salary increase for Meissner until their concerns can be heard.
Union representatives and school board members Susan Deyo and Brad Smith met for about an hour on Friday, Deyo said.
Before any decisions about the salary increases — or the wording of Meissner’s recently renewed contract — are finalized, Deyo said union representatives would be welcome to join the board at its annual retreat, which will be held next week.
The administration team’s salary discussion will likely be re-addressed at the board’s August meeting, Board President Janie Beasley said.