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State grant helps Renton Schools maintain fund balance in 2014

The Renton School District reports that it will be able to make budget this year, with some help from the state and local levies.

That was the conclusion of a Renton School Board study session June 25 at district headquarters.

As part of their goals, district administration wanted to maintain a 5 percent fund balance as well as increase achievement in the district, college and career readiness, equity and access and retain and recruit a diverse, high quality staff.

The district has a total budget capacity of $158 million. Approximately $10.58 million is the increase to next year's budget. The increased budget capacity is determined by the increased levy collection, increased enrollment and apportionment and funds from the Race to the Top grant, for a total of $5.51 million in total additional budget capacity.

Several years ago the budget process was much different, with administration asking how were they going to make the cuts. The last couple of years, they’ve had to figure out how to make up a shortfall of $4 million.

But with $4 million in help from the state’s McCleary decision to adequately fund basic education and a $2 million levy increase, times have changed.

“We’re feeling good about it,” said John Knutson, assistant superintendent of business operations. “It’s always easier to write budgets when the funds are increasing. We’ve also changed our internal process, so that needs and priorities are identified at the department level. We’ve always done that, but we’re more intentional this year.”

 

This story has been updated to reflect the correct amount in the school district's budget, which is $158 million.

 

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