Walla Walla School Board OKs budget, includes $5.4 million reserve

Worries about the economy and state funding are behind the higher-than-usual reserve.

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WALLA WALLA -- Members of the Walla Walla School Board unanimously approved the district's 2009-10 budget Tuesday night.

The budget totals about $60.4 million for general fund expenses, and separate amounts for the district's associated student body expenses, debt service fund, capital projects and transportation.

Anticipated expenses include: $60,418,755 from the general fund; $1,402,182 for the associated student body; $3,700,284 for debt service; $11.1 million for capital projects; and $225,000 for transportation vehicle fund.

School board members learned they would likely carry $5.4 million in reserves, or about 9 percent of the general fund balance. About 3 percent of that amount represents federal stimulus money, and is meant to serve the district in the following school year, said District Chief Financial Officer Pat Johnston.

The remaining 6 percent in the ending fund balance, which is about $3.68 million, is slightly higher than the 3 to 5 percent typically recommended by the board. But Johnston and Superintendent Rich Carter stressed to the board that the shaky state economy makes it necessary to keep slightly higher reserves in cases of dropped enrollment, or potential cuts to state funding.

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