Cheney Free Press -


By James Eik
Staff Reporter 

Positive budget news for Medical Lake


Christmas gifts came a few weeks early for the Medical Lake School District’s budget.

At the Tuesday, Nov. 27 school board meeting, business manager Don Johnson said the district had received about 15.3 percent of its projected revenues after two months of school. To help with other revenues, final federal impact aid payments from previous years will soon be coming to the district.

An adjusted final payout from 2008, totaling $99,000, would arrive in the near future, followed by adjustments from 2009 and 2010, amounts of which are unknown at the moment. The district has already received 45 percent of its impact aid funding for the 2012-13 school year, which will be bumped up to 70 percent by the end of this month, largely due to the potential sequestration budget talks.

All together, the amounts help to bring the district’s budget up to $1.528 million for the 2012-13 school year. Johnson said $1.640 million was budgeted for expenditures in the district, including drawing some from Medical Lake’s fund balance. The payment adjustments mean the district could be in the clear, and draw less form that fund balance.

“This gets us within $111,000 of what we budgeted for the year,” Johnson said. “That’s really good news for me to have that information this early in the year.”

Superintendent Pam Veltri said the district has weathered quite a storm in the past few years with funding reductions both from the state level and from impact aid.

As a result of the increased amounts, Johnson said the district could weather an emergency situation.

“I feel like there’s a little upside to this,” he said.

Veltri gave a presentation on the district’s transition to the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium’s testing in 2014-15. The test will replace the Measurement of Student Progress, currently administered in classrooms. Using adaptive technology, the test will increase the difficulty of questions if a student answers many correctly, and decrease the difficulty if a student is struggling.

In all, the goal is to see whether or an individual student is meeting standards.

Washington state is a part of the consortium designing the Smarter Balanced Assessment test, which is expected to cost $20 million for the class of 2015 to take the tests.

Board members also approved a change to the Dec. 18 board meeting start time. Instead of the regular 7 p.m., the meeting will start at 3 p.m., which is also the last day of school before the winter break.

Also at the meeting, the board approved a list of fundraisers within the district.

The board also approved the district’s updated five-year maintenance plan. Veltri said with the new middle school addition and Hallett Elementary expansion, the district’s capital projects list was quickly shrinking. While there are 12 items listed for 2012-13, the list cuts in half next year to six items. The maintenance plan prioritizes projects within the district, should funding become available.

Items listed for next year include replacing the high school’s roof over the library and gym, and a new roof over the high school gyms, totaling $300,000.

James Eik can be reached at


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