School Board Approves 2021-22 Operating Budget

Tahoma School Board Approves District’s 2021-22 Operating Budget
Posted on 07/28/2021

The Tahoma School Board on Tuesday adopted the district’s 2021-22 operating budget, which allocates funds to the general fund budget, transportation vehicle budget, capital projects budget, debt service budget and associated student body program budget. Following a Public Hearing on July 20, Assistant Superintendent Lori Cloud presented the final budget to the School Board on Tuesday, which the Board approved in a 3-1 vote.

The budget includes a forecast through 2024-25 and shows the district reducing its fund balance reserve each year. The fund balance reserve, which is currently 26.6 percent of the operating budget, would be depleted by the 2024-25 school year without local levy funding, which is eligible for renewal in 2024. The district is using its fund balance reserve with the goal of reducing the balance to 10-12 percent of the budget over the next two fiscal years.

“The district’s responsibility is to provide an exemplary learning experience for every student at Tahoma and guide them to develop the skills for a valuable future,” said School Board Director Pete Miller. “This budget, which uses a portion of our fund balance reserve, was carefully informed by our five-year goals and contemplates the costs associated with achieving those goals for the district. Our vote intends that the funds we’ve received from our students’ families and other tax-paying community members are being used responsibly to make Tahoma the best it can be for our students.”

Here is a breakdown of the operating budget and highlights for how funds will be used:

General Fund ($149,942,125)
- Accounts for the largest portion of the budget
An increase from an approximately $142 million budget for 2020-21
The increase is mostly attributed to salaries and benefits and includes additional teaching staff due to anticipated enrollment increases
Revenue is expected to be $140,145,242, which is $9,796,882 less than expenditures. The district’s fund balance reserve will be used to fulfill the additional spending

Transportation Vehicle Budget ($700,100)
Used to purchase new buses
Depreciation revenue from Washington state fully funds budget
- Five buses will be purchased this fiscal year due to a need for additional large and special education buses. The district also plans to replace some old buses that no longer receive depreciation revenue

Capital Projects Budget ($22,261,305)

- Installation of three portable classroom buildings at Tahoma High School
Construction of six classrooms at Cedar River Elementary School
- Technology levy spending (approx. $4.2 million of total)
- Heating and ventilation upgrades

Debt Service Budget ($14,805,400)
- Uses tax dollars to repay construction bonds that were sold to finance major construction projects (Tahoma High School and Lake Wilderness Elementary School)

Associated Student Body Program Budget ($1,815,135)
- Holds funds raised by each school’s associated student body
- Schools establish budgets to determine how these funds are spent

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