Warden School Board OKs 2018-19 budget

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WARDEN — Warden School Board members approved the district’s 2018-19 budget, but not before a discussion of the effects of the Running Start program on Warden High School.

The 2018-19 general fund will be $15 million; most school operation is funded through the general fund. Along with staff salaries, the general fund also pays for most materials and maintenance. The capital projects fund was budgeted at $250,000, which will be transferred from the general fund, said business manager Veronica Perez. Capital projects money must spent for construction or qualifying remodeling and improvement projects. Perez said there’s a list of priorities, and district officials will decide later which projects to tackle in 2018-19.

The transportation vehicle fund pays for buses, and was budgeted at $212,000. The Associated Student Body fund was budgeted for $261,870.

“The enrollment did drop a little bit,” Perez said. That reflects smaller-than-anticipated kindergarten classes for the 2017-18 and 2018-19 school years, she said. School budgets in Washington are built on a projected enrollment, and adjusted in January.

Perez said projected enrollment is the equivalent of 930 students, but that includes students from Warden High School who are in the Running Start program. Qualifying Running Start students are enrolled at WHS but attend classes, all or part of the day, at college, many at Big Bend Community College. As a result the number of kids actually at school will be about 900, Perez said.

Answering questions from people attending the meeting, district superintendent Dave LaBounty said Warden counselors are working with students and families to make sure they understand the ramifications of signing up for Running Start. Some kids have enrolled in Running Start but had to drop out, with the result that they are behind on high school credits, LaBounty said.

However, “it comes down to a family choice,” LaBounty said.

In other business, board members appointed Yesenia Herrera to the board. Herrera was one of three candidates, and the vote came after an executive session. The vote was 3-1, with board member Doug Skone voting no.

Herrera replaces Seamus McPartland, who resigned to pursue a teaching job.

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