Walla Walla School District adopts $65.3 million budget


The Walla Walla School District’s general fund for the fiscal year beginning Sept. 1 reflects an increase in state money that will be used to pay for additional teachers, classified staff members and salary and benefit hikes.

The School Board on Tuesday adopted a spending plan that anticipates $65.38 million in revenue and expenses estimated at $65.3 million.

The budget 2012-13 fiscal year budget ending this month was based on revenue of $60.9 million. But the district will receive about $4.5 million more this coming school year as the result of the Legislature pumping a statewide total increase of more than $1 billion into public education because of a Supreme Court mandate.

The bulk of the new funding has been set aside for specific purposes, according to Ted Cohan, the district’s executive director of business services.

For example, $1.1 million will pay for a total of 20 employees added last school year and the upcoming one. They include para-educators, intervention specialists and eight teachers.

An additional $1.2 million will be used for increased employee benefits and payroll taxes.

More money also is set aside to decrease class sizes for kindergarten and first grades, enhance the Transitional Bilingual Program, increase the Learning Assistance Program, and pay for additional transportation services and special education.

The total reserve amounts to about $6.5 million, with $5.2 million not assigned for specific purposes.

Cohan, who is new to the district this summer, welcomes the additional funds.

“It’s always nice to not essentially eat into our fund balance when we create a budget,” he said.


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