4 Things to Know about the 2022-23 TSD Budget

School Board Adopts 2022-23 Budget: 4 Things to Know
Posted on 08/02/2022

The Tahoma School Board on Tuesday, July 26 adopted the Tahoma School District’s 2022-23 operating budget in a 4-0 vote (Director Haley Pendergraft was not in attendance). The adoption followed a public hearing for the budget on July 19. The budget allocates funds to the general fund, transportation vehicle budget, capital projects budget, debt service budget and associated student body program budget.

Need a guide to understanding the budget? Check out Budget 101 HERE!

Below are 4 things to know about the 2022-23 budget (view the full budget)

1. District expenditures are increasing in 2022-23 to support student achievement

General fund expenditures are projected at $161.36 million in 2022-23 (see a breakdown of each budget at the bottom of this page), a 13.2% increase from 2021-22. This is attributed to some added personnel, wage increases, inflation costs, facilities upgrades, and teacher training and instruction materials. For every dollar that Tahoma spends, approximately 90 cents goes toward staff and classroom materials that benefit students.

There are key areas where expenditures are expected to exceed revenue, with the intent of enhancing learning for all students. This includes some personnel additions, and it also includes important resources like teacher professional development, new curriculum, reading and math assistance programs, and special education technology.
Two 2022 THS graduates pose for a photo before graduation

2. The district is “spending down” its fund balance reserve

The “fund balance reserve” is like the district’s bank account. The budget includes a forecast through the 2025-26 fiscal year and shows the district reducing its fund balance reserve each year. Our fund balance reserve for the 2021-22 school year is expected to finish at 21.7% of our operating budget. Our goal is to reduce the fund balance reserve to 10-12% ($15-18M) of the operating budget (as determined by the school board and the district’s Financial Services Dept.).

By operating important programs that are not fully funded by state and federal dollars, our fund balance reserve will be significantly decreased by the 2024-25 school year without local levy funding. Our community passed an Educational Programs & Operations Levy and a Technology Levy in 2020 that provide critical funding for classroom resources, staff, athletics/extracurricular activities and more. The current levies are eligible for renewal in 2024. CLICK HERE to learn more about the current levies.

3. Some COVID-19 relief funds will support “recovery learning”

From March 2020-Aug. 2023, the district is receiving a total of $2.6 million in COVID-19 relief from the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER). At $306.75 per pupil, Tahoma is allotted the second-fewest dollars per pupil among King Co. school districts. The biggest driving factors for this include: 1) enrollment, 2) students receiving free & reduced meals benefits, and 3) student state test scores. The district has spent approx. $4.5 million on COVID-19 related expenses from March 2020-June 2022 and expects to spend an additional $1.9 million in 2022-23.

Commonly referred to as “ESSER dollars,” $1.6 million of these funds must be used to support recovery learning (other ESSER dollars help cover nursing staff, PPE, testing equipment and other COVID-19 related expenses). 

Some of the recovery learning programs that TSD will utilize its ESSER dollars for this year include: staffing to support students not yet meeting standards in math and reading, mental health staff to assist counselors, expanded Connections class offerings at Tahoma High School to benefit students who are not on track to meet graduation requirements, and additional summer school and preschool learning opportunities.
ESSER Funding Per Student Among King Co. School Districts
4. Revenue increases will partially offset added expenses

While expenditures are increasing, there are also changes that will increase revenue for the district. The most significant factor in determining our apportionment (state funding) is enrollment. Enrollment decreased since the start of the pandemic, and the most recent demographer’s report shows TSD returning to our pre-pandemic enrollment in 2022-23, which will increase apportionment revenue.

Since the return to in-person learning, the federal government has covered the cost of meals for all students. Like most school districts, Tahoma must return to a paid-meals model in 2022-23, which generates some revenue (TSD still expects food service expenditures to exceed revenue by approx. $360,000). Additionally, the district did not increase registration/enrollment costs for the Extended Enrichment Program (EEP) in 2021-22. Those costs have increased for 2022-23 to cover the increased staff and materials costs.

This is a great time to remind families to apply for Free/Reduced Meals if you believe your family is eligible! Free/Reduced Meals waives family costs of all meals for eligible students, and those students also receive important benefits like waived ASB card costs, waived classroom and athletics/extracurricular fees, and automatic enrollment in the College Bound program for secondary students. CLICK HERE to apply for Free/Reduced Meals.


Do you have additional budget questions? Learn more at Budget 101, or send us an email at [email protected]. Thank you for your partnership and your engagement in our district’s important budget process!

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

General fund ($161,363,390)

- Accounts for the largest portion of the budget

- An increase from an $142.5 million estimate for 2021-22

- The increase is mostly attributed to salaries and benefits and includes additional teaching staff due to anticipated enrollment increases

- Revenue is expected to be $152,006,715 which is $9,357,215 less than expenditures. The district’s fund balance reserve will be used to fulfill the additional spending

Transportation Vehicle Budget ($1,020,100)

- Used to purchase new buses

- Depreciation revenue from Washington state fully funds this budget

- Six 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 ($19,396,580)

- Technology levy spending (approx. $4.6 million of total)

- Electrical and sewer upgrades

- Warm, safe, dry upgrades

Debt Service Budget ($15,073,625)

- 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 ($1,807,033)

- Holds funds raised by each school’s associated student body

- Schools establish budgets to determine how these funds are spent
Two elementary students hold up stick figures that they made in class

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