Below are selected points from the Community Budget Forum last week:
- The District significantly underestimates fund balances because they overestimate spending considerably.
- The result of the District’s budgeting practices is that the District has ended the last four years with as much as six (and no less than three) times the budgeted ending fund balance– and yet still KSD says there is a budget crisis.
- Revenue from local levies and levy equalization combined has grown and continues to grow consistently.
- Kent’s 2008-9 ending fund balance, equivalent to 9.3% of spending, was third highest among 9 districts of similar size.
- Based on this year’s fund balances to date, the current trend indicates that the District will end the year with more than $21.7 million in the ending fund balance. (aka “Rainy Day” Fund) That amounts to 8.3% of budgeted spending, 8.8% of KEA’s forecast of their spending level, and over five times the budgeted fund balance. That’s far more than sufficient for a District of Kent’s size.
- KSD’s own forecast (as of April) is that the ending fund balance will be four times the budgeted level this year!
Where are KSD’s priorities when it comes to budgeting and spending? By spending less than they budget, while projecting with near pinpoint accuracy how much they will take in, they continue to maintain (and even grow) their fund balance to levels well above what even conservative and prudent budgets would call for. Meanwhile, they have laid off 24 teachers this year, and have not yet recalled all those laid off last year! Clearly, their priority is not providing the best education for kids. Teachers and programs are cut, class sizes increase, and the quality of education in Kent suffers.
You can view the entire Community Budget Forum presentation from June 2nd here. We welcome your comments and questions!