By Dave Fidlin



With all pieces of the puzzle in place, Washington-Caldwell officials recently minted the K-8 feeder school district’s 2016-17 operating budget and property tax levy, both of which are decreasing in year-over-year comparisons.


The district’s budget for the current school year was finalized after all pieces of information — including the exact amount of state aid and enrollment figures — were made available.


Washington-Caldwell’s approved budget totals $2.95 million; a year ago, it clocked in at $3.06 million.


The amount the district is levying taxpayers to fund operations also is decreasing, from $1.63 million in the 2015-16 school year to $1.51 million for the current school year.


There are several notable aspects to the budget, including a reduction in general sate aid, which is the district’s second largest source of income.


In the 2015-16 school year, Washington-Caldwell received $690,162 from the state Department of Public Instruction. This year, that line item was reduced to $588,122.


The district has offset some of its revenue declines by making trims on the expense side of the ledger. The school building administration line item, for example, has decreased from $143,177 in unaudited 2015-16 school year figures to $138,566 for the current school year.


Preparing the 2016-17 budget has been a nearly year-round exercise for District Bookkeeper Rachel Opgenorth, District Administrator Mark Pienkos and the School Board. The finalized document was presented at the district’s recent annual meeting.