Each summer, the district finalizes its budget for the upcoming year. Following the July 19 Budget Hearing, the Snoqualmie Valley School Board approved the district’s budgets for the 2018-19 fiscal year.
2018-19 Budget Priorities:
Our district began planning for the budget in December and identified spending priorities aligned with the District Strategic Plan and the Educational Programs & Operations Levy that was passed by voters. In March, the legislature accelerated funding for new staff compensation benchmarks from 2019-20 into 2018-19; the district is currently bargaining the impact of these changes. Another key component of new state funding is tied specifically to reducing class sizes in kindergarten through third grade. While many neighboring school districts are waiting until 2019 to meet the newly-funded class sizes, Snoqualmie Valley hired staff this spring and anticipates being fully compliant in 2018-19.
Other key funding priorities for the upcoming school year include:
Elementary Specialists to enhance programs and differentiate learning – Beginning this fall, students will benefit from a math interventionist and a reading interventionist in each elementary school. These specialists will partner with general classroom teachers to provide differentiated instruction in these critical core subjects. Along with a new blocked, Multi-Tier System of Support schedule, elementary students will have increased opportunities for individualized instruction that will help close the achievement gap.
Thanks to the Technology Levy passed by voters in February, the addition of coding specialists will provide elementary students access to TechSmartKids curriculum as part of their specialist rotation (Library, Music, PE). Computer coding classes will also be added at both middle schools.
K-3 Class Size Reduction – The district increased staffing at the elementary level by approximately 30 teachers. This includes interventionists, as well as general education teachers to further reduce class size and to address ongoing enrollment growth throughout the district. Portable classrooms are being added at Fall City, Snoqualmie and Timber Ridge elementary schools.
New High School Schedule – Mount Si High School will begin a new 7-period modified block schedule this fall that will help students obtain the 24 credits they will need to graduate. A 7-period day provides students more opportunities to take physical education, art, career and technical education (CTE) or other elective classes, and to recover credits if needed. The budget provides additional staffing to support the 7-period transition.
Purchasing New Curriculum – Among new curriculum being adopted this fall, Social Emotional Learning (SEL) curriculum called SecondSTEP by Committee for Children will be purchased for grades K-5. Also, STEMscopes by Accelerated Learning, which aligns with the Next Generation Science Standards, will be purchased for grades K-3; last year grades 4-5 received the interactive science learning materials.
Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) Program and Instructional Coaching – The budget continues to support AVID in our secondary schools as a tool to help students become college-ready. To foster great teaching and learning, the district also invests in instructional coaches who support teachers in honing their craft.
Mental Health, Social Emotional Support – Having been awarded three-year grants from King County to enhance mental health services at Two Rivers and both middle schools, the district is working to bring similar support to Mount Si High School students.
Fund Balance – The district anticipates a one-year increase to its fund balance due to the change in timing of funding from the state. In 2019, those funds will be used for incremental staffing and operational costs associated with opening the new Mount Si High School and reinstating Snoqualmie Middle School. Maintaining a responsible fund balance helps ensure a strong bond rating to save taxpayers money. Given recent changes implemented by the Washington State Legislature on school funding, maintaining a strong fund balance will continue to be an important component of budgeting.
For more information, visit the Approved Budget webpage on the district website. This includes a budget summary; the July 19, 2018, presentation to the Board; and full budget report.
In other budget-related news…SVSD Earns Another Exemplary State Audit
For 13 consecutive years, the Snoqualmie Valley School District has earned a “clean” audit from the State Auditor, following a thorough annual review of the district’s financial accountability and compliance with district policies and state and federal laws.