Before getting down to budget work, the Lake Washington School District Board of Directors administered her oath, swearing her in as the new district superintendent at its meeting Monday night.
Pierce, who worked for the district for 17 years before being selected to replace outgoing Supt. Dr. Chip Kimball, said she sees her role very much as one of "collaborating with the board" to move students continually toward educational success.
As the board got on to tackle the first reading of next year's budget, it appeared to be a less dramatic experience than last June, .
"We wait for legislative decisions to be made so we know what our revenue stream will be—the good news is we don’t have the kind of cuts" the district faced last year, Pierce said.
In other words, board member Doug Eglington quipped, “the bleeding’s stopped."
However, Pierce went on, though there is very little reduction in state funding this year, there is also no restoration of previous funding levels.
The overall district revenues and other resources are expected to increase by more than $7 million dollars in the coming school year up to about $247 million, primarily due to increased enrollment in the district, which is expected to rise by about 560 students in the 2012-13 school year. Expenditures in the proposed budget come to about $231 million, which will leave the district with an end fund balance of $16 million. The district aims for at least a 5 percent fund balance each year.
One additional source of revenue that may be of interest to parents of preschoolers, will open up for the district this year as it realigns its grade configurations, Barbara Posthumus, LWSD's budget services coordinator, told the board. The district's sixth graders will be moving to the middle schools, leaving some additional space at local elementary schools. Due to the shift, the district will offer 60 classrooms of all-day-kindergarten next year, up from 45 classes, and adding $600,000 to the budget.
The budget is available for public review at the district's administrative offices or online, and the board directors told the audience at the meeting that they welcome questions by telephone or email from now until a public hearing and budget adoption scheduled for Aug. 6 at 7 p.m. at the L.E. Scarr Resource Center, 16250 NE 74th St. in Redmond.