The Seaside School District approved next school year’s budget last Wednesday night. The total of all funds was $960,000 higher than in the proposed budget, following an adjustment to account for principal and interest for pension bonds.

After reviewing the budget with the Northwest Regional Education Service District, the school district made the change with the goal of being as “as transparent as possible,” Superintendent Susan Penrod said.

Total revenues and expenditures of $49 million in the revised budget are about $9 million lower than last year’s $58.2 million requirements, a result of reduced construction expenditures with the completion of the new campus on Spruce Drive.

The budget includes revenues of about $25 million from property taxes and an additional $23 million from other sources, including federal and state grants designed to support transition back to full-time, on-site instruction, Penrod said.

Instructional costs for teachers and programs comprise the largest portion of the general fund. At about $13.9 million, the general fund, the largest budget category, is slightly higher than last year’s $13.7 million.

Support services, including executive administration, transportation and operation maintenance, are budgeted at $8.5 million.

The amount budgeted for Public Employees Retirement System Debt Service in 2021-22 is $960,000, of which $670,000 is principal and the remainder interest.

Andre Schellhaas, assistant director of fiscal compliance for the Northwest Regional Education Service District, joined the meeting to explain a change in accounting methodology for the pension program. In previous years, when debt payments were due, they were deducted from the school district’s cash account. Per guidelines from the Government Accounting Standards Board, debt service will now be accounted for in a separate fund.

The retirement fund is counted twice in the budget amendment, recognizing the accumulation of resources to pay the bond debt by a charge against a payroll fund and also a special revenue fund. It also recognizes the payment of bond principal and interest in a debt service fund in accordance with generally accepted practices and Oregon law.

Despite the total budget increase, the new figures do not take away resources from other school district programs or services, Schellhaas said.

School board members unanimously voted to approve the revised budget. Adoption of the budget will be discussed at the school board’s June 15 meeting.

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