Budget Cuts At Wenatchee Schools Will Eliminate Scores Of Jobs
The Wenatchee School District is facing what the top schools administrator says are budget challenges in the years ahead.
With the district nearing the end of its budget planning timeline, Interim Superintendent Bill Eagle met with the school board Monday.
He presented three possible scenarios moving forward, all of which cut 75-80 jobs over the next two school years in 2023-24 and 2024-25.
Each scenario cuts more than $8 million from the district's budget. The district faces an overall shortfall of $8-9 million.
The school board is expected to adopt one of the scenarios by its Feb 28 meeting.
At least one of the scenarios would eliminate the Wenatchee Internet Academy (WIA), which was started in the 2020-21 school and served 550 students during the pandemic in its first year. WIA currently has an enrollment of 57 students.
Eagle says he's confident the district can move towards a stronger, more sustainable budget over the next two years.
"We have a goal of ensuring our students are future ready and students are at the heart of our work. And we will continue to provide outstanding educational opportunities for students and families in the valley," Eagle said. "Our budget includes five separate self balancing accounts and each account is designed for carrying out specific purposes and therefore, each distinct fund has its own revenue sources, its own associated expenditures and a separate balance."
Those five accounts are the General Fund, which comprises 92% of the entire budget, Capital Projects Fund, Debt Service Fund, Transportation Vehicle Fund and the Associated Student Body Fund or ASB.
Additionally, Eagle explained the reasoning behind the budget reduction range being pegged at between $8-million to $9-million dollar.
"Why is this range so large? The answer is related to several unknown parameters that will be important parts of our budgeting process. We do know that the federal extra dollars will be pretty much spent out by the end of this year. And we also know that based on prior trends, we are predicting a continued decline in enrollment. However, the impact of the current legislative session is largely unknown." Eagle said.
With each scenario, Eagle outlined different ways the district can reach its goal by cutting administration and staff positions along with non-staff related items.
He says the larger percentage and reduction of administration staff is a response to survey results showing the district is top-heavy with administration.
"And that's why all of these scenarios include a larger percentage and reduction of our admin. We have about 50 administrators in the district, 555 certified staff, and 336 classified staff and those are the numbers that play into the percentage of reductions over the two year period."
If you would like to see a breakdown of all three scenarios, click here.
The district has until August to adopt a plan.