(On Snohomish School District stationery)Statement From Candace McKenna School Board President
At the request of the Snohomish School board and Administrative Cabinet a financial analysis was recently conducted by Mr. Bob Linn, Director of Business/Finance from the Educational Service District. Snohomish school officials were concerned about the financial condition of the district and requested assistance from the ESD. The analysis will assist the board and administration to develop a plan to take corrective measures. The results of the analysis indicate that our expenditures exceed our revenues and have for the past few years. A contributing factor includes the double levy failure 4 years ago and insufficient budget adjustments to account for the resulting loss of revenue.
This has caused a gradual erosion of our cash reserve over the past 4 years. Inadequate internal spending controls and over projecting student enrollment the pas several years has also contributed to this problem, since the annual budget is based on projected enrollment. The board is committee to working with the administrative cabinet, with the support of Mr. Linn, to identify problems and to develop a corrective action plan. The board recognizes the seriousness of this situation and the need for an immediate plan to correct the problem. In the meantime all of us need to look at where we may have contributed to the problem.
The board is responsible for approving a budget that is within our available revenue. Management is held accountable for seeing that budgets are adhered to and adjustments are made as necessary in order to avoid spending beyond our means. The community has a responsibility as well.
What is very clear is that this debt is partially the result of this district trying to continue to offer full services to students after a double levy failure in 1994. We have simply spent beyond our means in order to provide uninterrupted quality education for students. The problem is that we tried to do this with mediocre funding.
Most surrounding districts run at least a 20% levy. Our past two levies have been at 18%. It may be relevant to note that had we passed a 20% levy this debt would not have occurred.
The board has every confidence our district will overcome these budget challenges with a solid budget plan. Other districts have faced similar challenges and have successfully overcome them with the support of staff and community. The Snohomish School Board is grateful to the ESD and Director of Business/Finance, Bob Linn for the careful budget analysis. The board appeals to all our stakeholders, students, staff and community to work together as a team to face and overcome these challenges.
(On Snohomish School District stationery)
[Note: emphasis supplied. In other words, in my opinion, Mrs. McKenna is saying that the mismanagement occurred because the taxpayers didn't approve the levy. df]