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Marysville School District approves budget that cuts deficit down to $17.5M

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(The Center Square) – The Marysville School District unanimously approved its 2023-24 budget, cutting a $28.7 million budget deficit down to $17.5 million by the end of the school year.

Marysville School District officials attributed the budget gap to decreasing enrollment while staffing levels continue to increase. According to the district’s 2023-24 preliminary budget, the total K-12 enrollment went from 9,857 budgeted for the 2022-23 school year, to a projected 9,750 in the district’s 2023-24 budget. While the decrease is minimal, the number of certified and classified employees at Marysville School District went from 1,151 to 1,215 in that same time span.

The school district also blames two levy failures that would have added approximately $25 million in revenue over two school years, according to the district’s budget presentation. Marysville voters did approve one levy earlier this year. However, the district will not generate revenue from the levy until the 2024-25 school year. It’s expected to eventually collect about $12.7 million in April 2024.

The budgeted revenue for the 2023-24 school year is $187.6 million, which is a 3.4% increase from $181.4 million in the 2022-23 school year. Notably, federal dollars dropped 27% between last school year and the upcoming school year.

“Like most school districts in this state, we’ve experienced less federal revenues coming in due to [Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief funds] declining and no longer being of use for us,” Marysville School District Executive Director of Finance and Operations Lisa Gonzales said at a Monday school board of directors meeting.

The budget deficit caused the Marysville School District to make cuts to its staff, including 45 certified teachers, as previously reported by The Center Square. Gonzales added that there will likely be more layoffs in the future.

The district signed onto a binding agreement with the state Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction on Aug. 18. The agreement allows the district to borrow against future state apportionment payments. With the agreement, the district must have a budgeted ending fund balance for the 2024-25 school year equal to or greater than $0. The actual fund balance must also be equal to or greater than $0 by November 2025.

According to school district board member Kristen Michal, there are close to 20 other school districts in Washington that are close to reaching binding agreements.

“When you have districts across the state experiencing those kinds of financial duress, it speaks to structural issues and how we’re funding education,” she said.

Classes for the majority of students in the Marysville School District start on Thursday.

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