Edmonds School Board receives district financial report, approves multiple capital projects

At its May 26 business meeting, the Edmonds School District Board of Directors celebrated its 2019-20 student advisors with Faith Boulom (top center), Mae Cramer (top right) and Jonathan Kwong (bottom right). (Photo courtesy of the Edmonds School District)

In spite of revenue losses due to state-mandated school closures, the Edmonds School District is managing to tread water during challenging financial times, according to a report from district staff.

At its May 26 business meeting, the Edmonds School District Board of Directors reviewed the district’s monthly financial report, which showed a complete stoppage of incoming revenue.

“On the revenue side, we are basically not receiving revenues any longer,” said Finance Director Lydia Sellie. 

One area where the district has seen decreases is local property tax collection, since Snohomish County extended the tax payment deadline to July 15.

If the economy stabilizes and residents continue to pay their taxes, Sellie the district will recover the money at a later date. However, in the event of an economic downturn, the district would have to wait longer, she said.

“Except in a few instances, we’re pretty much guaranteed that money,” she said. “It’s just a matter of when.”

Other revenue losses include fees typically collected for non-Associated Students Body (ASB) activities and funds from school meal sales. Though the district is receiving federal reimbursement for meals being distributed to families during the school closures, Sellie said it does not cover the cost of lost revenue from meal sales.

When schools closed, providing students who relied on school for meals during the day remained a priority for the district. For non-students, meals can be purchased at one of the meal distribution locations. The services have since been extended to selling meals on weekends, which Sellie said could potentially help recoup some of the lost funds.

“(Weekend meals) will help offset, but it is likely that we’re going to see a deficit here as a result,” she waid. 

The district has also put a hold on processing and collecting student fines.

Sellie said the district is collecting — as well as distributing — refunds for deposits on events that have been canceled. Refunds are being distributed to students who paid deposits, she added.

District staff has also been working to recover refunds of deposits placed for canceled events, but the district is unlikely to receive refunds for all of the deposits, Sellie said. The amount of unrecovered deposits will be presented to the board at a later date, she said.

“It hopefully won’t be significant, but I know there are a few places we weren’t able to get our full deposit back,” she said.

Spring is also a busy time for fundraising events, all of which have been canceled, causing more revenue loss.

District staff have been working with the Washington Office of Superintendent of Public Information (OSPI) and state auditors to determine the fate of the seniors’ remaining ASB fund balance. According to Sellie, money in those funds can only be spent during the school calendar year.

In the past, a graduating class’ unspent funds were distributed to underclassmen, which Sellie said is an option that is currently being discussed. Another would be for students to make a purchase — like a plaque or a mural — dedicated to the graduating class.

In other business, the board unanimously voted to authorize a preliminary budget of $100,000 for the Brier Terrace Middle School roof replacement project. The project was approved under the district’s 2016 capital levy and consists of replacing the entire roof of the school and potentially installing a fall arrest anchor system. Since the project funds will not be available until later in this year, the district will delay the Brier Terrace Middle roofing project until 2021.

The board also unanimously voted to award contracts totaling $170,000 to complete the multiple capital projects, including replacing the following: the 20-year-old sound system in the Edmonds-Woodway High School commons area; the more-than-30-year-old HVAC controls at the former Woodway Elementary and former Alderwood Middle schools; and the Meadowdale High School entry reader board

The board also awarded two additional roof replacement projects — one at Hazelwood Elementary School and the other at Edmonds Elementary School — to King County Directors Association (KCDA). The Hazelwood Elementary project is estimated to cost $2.5 million and the Edmonds Elementary project will cost $2.1 million.

Also during the meeting, the board recognized its student advisors, who serve on the board as representatives of district high schools throughout the academic year. Superintendent Kris McDuffy said this year’s group of advisors have been “the most active and committed” group to serve alongside the board.

“In my 17 years as a superintendent, this has been the most incredible group of students advisors,” she said.

Though not all students were able to attend the remote meeting, the board recognized each of the following students: Ruth Addisu, Bandhna Bedi, Faith Boulom, Mae Cramer, Nolan DeGarlais, Amadou Jallow, Severin Kavanah, Jonathan Kwong, Morgan Merriam and Josie Wang.

–By Cody Sexton

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