At the March 13 school board work session, Chief Fiscal Officer Brett Blechschmidt presented the 2018-19 consensus budget. The consensus budget is similar to the Senate budget recently presented to the Vancouver Public Schools Board of directors on Feb. 27.

As shared at Feb. 27 board meeting, $10 million of the surplus revenue in the Senate budget is one-time money. It will be offset by an equal reduction when the state fully executes the property tax levy swap, reducing the district’s local levy revenue in 2019-20.

Additionally, the district will need to begin bargaining impacts of ESSSB 6362, including a locally developed certificated instructional staff (CIS) schedule, and working conditions such as specialist case-loads and class size.

Said Superintendent Steve Webb at the March 13 board meeting, “The budget is good news. But until we have greater clarity, we should continue to approach our budget development work in a fiscally prudent manner with a multi-year budgeting horizon. As you know, reasonably responsible fund balances enable the district to seek favorable bond ratings when we go to market, saving taxpayers money in the future and providing the ability to respond to unplanned emergencies, such as the Great Recession, enabling us to sustain programs and services to students and stabilize the district’s workforce.”

Blechschmidt’s presentation covered the impact the 2018-19 consensus budget would have on the district. The budget adds approximately $21.2 in additional revenue, but it also requires nearly $3.8 million in expenditure adjustments. These adjustments are related to staffing; retirement contributions; and materials, supplies and operational costs. The elimination of a one-time fund balance “bridge” from the 2017-18 budget of $2.8 million, leaves a total forecasted surplus of $14.6 million.