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School District Proposes Budget For I-728 Funding; Public Hearing On Thursday

Offer input on student achievement initiative

The White Salmon Valley School Board is holding a public hearing tonight to receive public input and feedback on its plan for the use of state Initiative 728 funding.

The April 21 hearing is part of this month's board meeting agenda. The meeting starts at 7 p.m. in the Columbia High School library.

Funding under I-728, the K-12 Student Achievement Initiative approved by voters in November 2000, comes to the district from the state for use in K-12 class-size reduction, professional staff development, early childhood programs (birth-5 years) and extended learning opportunities, such as Henkle Middle School's Project Open Door.

To be eligible to receive the money, every school district that applies must hold a public hearing before May 1 and adopt a spending plan by Aug. 31.

White Salmon schools first received I-728 money in the fall of 2001, at a rate of $190 per full-time equivalent (FTE) student. That rate has increased to $254 per FTE over the last three years.

The district's I-728 budget for 2004-05--based on 1,178 FTE students times $254--is $346,815, and includes $47,603 in carryover from 2003-04.

Nearly 76 percent of that budget was earmarked for class-size reduction (5.1 FTE teachers split between CHS and Henkle). Another 13.6 percent went toward the district's preschool program.

Next year's proposed spending plan--predicated on an enrollment of 1,141 FTE students and an estimated rate of $300 per student--calls for revenues of $342,300.

The 2005-06 plan would provide for the same 5.1 FTE teachers as the 2004-05 budget (roughly 78 percent of total funding) and slightly less for the preschool program (11.5 percent).

Allocations for staff development and extended learning opportunities would remain about the same.

Other agenda items for tonight include reports concerning student enrollment, a restructured CHS class schedule, and a security system for CHS.

Under action items, the school board will consider Resolution 04/05-02 regarding Certificated Staff Reduction, and a staff member request for partial leave.

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