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.

The Wenatchee School District faces a budget gap of an estimated $5.2 million + in operating costs. The numbers presented are preliminary estimates and are subject to change.

Share your input on budget priorities 
The Wenatchee School District will be offering opportunities for stakeholders to provide input into the process of balancing the district budget for 2019-20.
 
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. The purpose of the online survey is to gather input from various stakeholder groups to identify district priorities that will be used to guide budget adjustments for 2019-20.  The survey will be open January 23 through February 3.

It is likely that all categories included in the survey will be impacted at some level, however, the budget adjustments will be made from the lowest priority areas first.  These expenditures do not include personnel or programs that are categorically funded (i.e. Title I, II, III, LAP, Special. Ed., etc.).  However, categorical funds may be used in place of levy/local funds where guidelines allow it.
 

Challenges:

  • 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.

Causes:

  • 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
    ‚Äč

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.

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

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


 

 

The purpose of the survey is to gather input from various stakeholder groups to identify district priorities that will be used to guide budget adjustments for 2019-20

Survey will be available January 23 

Questions regarding the budget can be emailed to: budget@wenatcheeschools.org