West Washington general fund back in black earlier than expected

By: 
Kate Wehlann, Staff Writer

During their Jan. 31 meeting, Superintendent Keith Nance had some exciting news for the West Washington School Board when he presented the financial report for the 2017 calendar year.

“We have made a lot of changes and we are seeing fruit from those changes earlier than we projected,” he said. “In 2018, we were feeling very positive we were going to get [the general fund] out of the red and we were going to be in the black and I’m very happy to say that actually happened in 2017.”

The general fund’s revenue at the end of the 2017 was $5,640,925.14, with expenses being $5,492,099.84, leaving a positive amount of $148,825.30 in the fund. This brings the ending cash balance of $2,296,770.42 in the general fund as of the end of December. January, Nance said, was also a positive revenue month.

“This is the first positive change in the general fund since 2011,” said Nance.

This certainly didn’t happen overnight or easily. A number of changes had to be made, including in the way the Capital Projects Fund was planned, working hard to increase enrollment (which translates into increased revenue for the general fund from the state), grant-writing for things the general fund would otherwise pay for and the reduced cost of staff through retirement incentives.

“The standard is that 80 percent of your general fund is used for things that directly affect kids — employees and their benefits and salaries,” said Nance. “We are above 85 percent when it comes to expenses from our general fund. We’re not spending our general fund on things we shouldn’t be.”

See the full story in The Salem Leader, on newsstands now.

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