Current Year Budget
Due to legislation passed in the 2018 session, school districts are dealing with a dramatically different funding model than the one we have had for many decades. The new model provides increased funding for public schools but still falls short of the true need.
While Highline will receive more state dollars than before, a significant portion of new revenue must be spent on specific programs such as Career & Technical Education and Special Education. Additionally, the state has put a limit on what districts can collect from local levies. Our Highline levy will be 24 percent less for 2018-19 than it was in 2017-18. That amounts to $14 million.
Outside of the dollars reserved for specific programs, Highline is not likely to gain or lose much state funding once the multi-year phase-in of this new system is complete. In the short term, however, we will see another big drop in revenue in 2019-20 due to further reduction of our levy.
We did not have to make significant cuts to the 2018-19 budget, but in the following two years, we will have less money to work with because of the drop in levy dollars. We have decided to save some of this year’s revenue and carry it over to avoid cuts in 2019-20 and 2020-21.
Here’s our budget picture:
- Our costs will increase in the next few years due to already-bargained labor agreements and expenditures related to changes necessary in our high schools to meet new state graduation requirements. We may also see increases due to labor contracts with teachers (HEA) currently in bargaining.
- Our enrollment for 2018-19 is projected to be down slightly. We expect enrollment to be fairly flat until 2021-22, when it is forecasted to increase again. Since we are funded on a per-student basis, this will affect our state revenue.
Proactively saving is the best approach to avoid disruptive cuts in programs, staff and operations. This is our responsibility as stewards of public dollars.