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Budget Information

Wenatchee Budget Information

Wenatchee School District Budget Information

The Wenatchee School District is committed to providing a comprehensive education from kindergarten through the completion of high school. Student learning is accomplished through a quality educational system by dedicated, caring staff working in partnership with students, parents, and the community. However, like many school districts in our state, we are now faced with budget challenges that will impact our district in the foreseeable future. We will need to take decisive action to put us in a healthier financial position.

Budget Information Session
Wednesday, August 21
6-7 p.m.
Wenatchee High School, 1101 Millerdale Ave.

The purpose of this special meeting is to share information and hear from the public about the District’s budget and proposed estimates 30-cent levy increase. 

Budget Overview (8/21/19)
Power Point Presentation 

The District projects a budget deficit of 1.6 million for the 19-20 year without a levy increase due to changes in the state school funding model and subsequent salary and benefit-cost increases, in addition to declining enrollment projections. Approximately 4.5 million in cuts were made by the District for the 19-20 school year.

Budget Challenges

  • Increase in salary costs is exceeding funding
  • School Employee Benefits Board (SEBB) - District cost has increased, the number of staff who qualify has increased. 
  • Projected Enrollment Decline- Birth rate decreases, charter school
  • Regionalization - State allocated rates decreasing resulting. in approximately 3 million loss in revenue over six year

McCleary - New School Funding Model
The state legislature increased the state school tax to provide extra funding for school employee compensation but reduced the local operating levy collection amount as a result of the “McCleary decision”
Public schools are funded by state and federal dollars, grants and local voter-approved levy dollars. 

  • Wenatchee voters approved a local levy of $2.92. 
  • The State capped local school levies at $1.50 as part of levy equalization and increased the state tax.
  • The McCleary decision contributed to the budget deficit in 19-20 and beyond.

Budget Reductions 
The District cut 4.5 million in staffing and operational cost in 19-20. Like many school districts in our state, we were faced with budget challenges that will impact our district in the foreseeable future.  In February 2019 the Board approved a budget reduction scenario that included 4.5 million in staffing and operational cost reductions to put us in a healthier financial position.

Levy Request 
The District is proposing an increase to the levy estimated at 30-cents per $1,000 of assessed value. This increase is a necessary measure to avoid deeper staff cuts and will lessen the impact on the District’s budget for the next two years.

  • The legislature lifted the levy lid to $2.50 during the last legislative session, giving school districts authority to restore previously voter-approved levies rates. 
  • The proposed levy increase would provide about $806,000 in revenue for the 19-20 school year and $1.58 million for the 20-21 school year.
  • The estimated 30-cent levy increase would is estimated to increase the levy rate from $1.50 to $1.80 for every $1,000 of assessed value. 

Effect of No Levy Increase

  • The District projects deeper additional staffing cuts will need to be made in 2020 and beyond if the estimated 30-cent levy increase is not approved.
  • The District’s fund balance will decrease at a faster rate.
  • The continued declining fund balance may lead to a bond credit rating downgrade. 

At the board meeting on February 26, the Wenatchee School District Board of Directors took action and approved budget reduction Scenario #2.  The attached pdf file contains all of the reductions included in Scenario #2.

Scenario #2 (PDF)

02/26/19 Board Meeting Video/Documents

The Wenatchee School Board identified their funding priorities for 2019-2020 during a workshop held on Wednesday, February 6. The District is facing an estimated $5.2 million budget deficit and will use the direction provided by the board to guide budget reductions. 

During the workshop, District staff presented the findings of a recent online budget prioritization survey that was completed by over 1,000 people. The board used the data from the survey, as well as guided discussion of 5 different budget categories where reductions could be made to establish a direction.

The board provided the cabinet with general direction to preserve as many staff as possible and direct services to students, condense costs in programs, reduce additional pay (i.e., stipends, time sheets) and explore ways to consolidate administrative and classified services by spreading these across the system.

The cabinet will use the direction provided by the board to develop scenarios for making the reductions. Scenarios will be presented at the board’s regular meeting on February 12 at 6 p.m. 

The purpose of the survey was to gather input from various stakeholder groups to identify district priorities that will be used to guide budget adjustments for 2019-2020.   The dollar amounts from each category on the survey are outlined on the following slides that match the budget presentation in the following categories of additional pay, stipends, and programs.

Other groups that completed the survey to represent their group.

It has taken several years and many converging factors to get us where we are and it will take time and many cooperating factors to get us back on solid financial footing. 

The Wenatchee School District will be offering opportunities for stakeholders to provide input into the process of balancing the district budget for 2019-20.  The Wenatchee School District faces an estimated $5.2 million budget deficit.

Three public informational meetings will be held January 23, 24 and 29 at Wenatchee High School.  The meetings will include a presentation on factors impacting the budget, a Q&A time, and link for an online survey.  Public comment will not be taken at the meetings.

Stakeholder data from the online survey will be aggregated/disaggregated and shared with the Board during a workshop on January 6.  The Board will use the data to set their own priorities which will be used by the Wenatchee School District cabinet as a guide for creating budget adjustment proposals. The Board will take action on budget adjustments at their regularly scheduled meeting on January 12.

Stakeholder Meetings and Budget Timelines

January 23 I 6:30 - 8:00 p.m.
Stakeholder Budget Informational Meeting
Budget presentation, Q&A, online survey
Wenatchee High School New Commons 

January 23 - February 3
Online Survey 

January 24 I 3:30-5:00 p.m. 
Stakeholder Budget Informational Meeting
Budget presentation, Q&A, online survey
Wenatchee High School New Commons 

January 29 I 6:30-8:00 p.m. 
Stakeholder Budget Informational Meeting
Budget presentation, Q&A, online survey
Wenatchee High School New Commons 

February 6 I 5:00-7:00 p.m.
School Board Budget Workshop
The board will use the data collected through the online survey to set their own priorities which will be used by the cabinet as a guide for creating budget adjustment proposals. 
Wenatchee School District Office

February 12 I 6:00-8:00 p.m.
School Board Meeting  
Review cabinet proposals for balancing 2019-20 budget and take action.
Wenatchee School District Office

ENGLISH - Click to view the narrated presentation in a separate window. (Closed Captioning is available click the CC button in lower left to toggle on/off)

SPANISH - Click to view the narrated presentation in a separate window. (Closed Captioning is not available)

Click the double arrow button in the upper right to view full screen.

Actions Taken to Reduce Deficit and Impact on the Fund Balance in 2018-2019
We identified challenging financial trends over a year ago and have taken action to reduce our budget by $1,795,500 in 2018-2019. These reductions have been taken in the following ways.

Unfilled Openings = $1,462,500
The fiscal health of WSD made it necessary to not fill open positions.

  • Assistant Superintendent of Learning & Teaching
  • Director of Security
  • New Security Positions (4)
  • District Office Secretarial Positions (3)

We also choose to not spend Basic Education Allocation (BEA) contingency funds of $860.000

Reduction of School Budgets by 10% = $130,000     
School leaders were asked to make building-based cuts of 10% to their 18-19 budgets

Reduce Materials, Supplies & Operating Costs (MSOCs) = $200,000


  • Continued enrollment decline - State Basic education funding is based on full-time equivalent (FTE) enrollment.
    • Since 2016-17 school year enrollment has declined by 300+ FTE students which have resulted in reduced revenues.
  • K-3 class size compliance
    • The State provides additional money for maintaining student-teacher ratios at grades K-3. Next year the WSD will be required to comply with the ratios to receive full funding.
  • Balancing of Local Support for Various Programs 
    • Some of the WSD programs valued highly by our community, such as AVID, HiCap, Wenatchee Learns etc.,  are not fully funded with basic education dollars. The WSD has relied upon local support (levy, levy equalization, etc.,) to support these programs and the levy revenues have been reduced by approximately $6 million dollars.
  • Implementation of School Employees Benefits Board January 2020
    • Legislative changes to the way school employee benefits are managed may have a financial impact. 
  • Gradual Reduction of 6% Regionalization Enhancement to State Funding
    • The WSD has received 6% above the state allocation for a full-time teacher, but that 6% will ultimately be gone.


  • Reduction in levy capacity
  • Continued enrollment decline - Current projections suggest a continued decline in student enrollment.
  • Salary and benefit increases above state allocations
  • Staffing levels above state allocations - The State pays for staff based on a “Prototypical School Model”. Any staff that are hired beyond the prototypical school allocation are paid for out of local revenue sources. The WSD is overstaffed in a number of areas.
  • McCleary Decision

Impact of the new state funding model - McCleary Decision

The McCleary decision regarding school funding by the State Legislature contributed to an increase in our funding gap of $3.0 million in 2017-18 to an estimated $5.2 million in 2019-20. Public schools are funded by state and federal dollars, grants and local voter-approved levy dollars. Although the Legislature provided extra funding for school employee compensation this year through the McCleary decision, legislators also reduced the amount school districts can collect through a local operating levy.  This reduction in levy capacity, if not fixed in the upcoming legislative session, will result in a shortfall in the district’s 2019-20 budget.

Questions regarding the budget can be emailed to:

We envision a Wenatchee renowned for making education personal and a local culture that values learning and is committed to success for all.

Our purpose is preparing students with the knowledge and skills for life in the 21st Century. Our goal is to create student centered learning environments, nurture and inspire innovation and creativity, create flexibility within structure, and nurture collaborative relationships that inspire learning.

District Schools

Columbia Elementary

Castlerock Early Childhood Learning Center (ECLC)

Foothills Middle School

John Newbery Elementary

Lewis & Clark Elementary

Lincoln Elementary

Mission View Elementary

Orchard Middle School

Pioneer Middle School

Sunnyslope Elementary

Valley Academy of Learning

Washington Elementary

Wenatchee High School

Wenatchee Valley Technical Skills Center

Westside High School