Budget problems continue at Wenatchee Schools. 

After reducing the budget by $4.6 million dollars in the last school year to try and head off a $9 million error, there's more.

The district is now dealing with rising staffing costs, declining enrollment and inflation, and plans to cut $8.6 million from its budget going into the next school year.  

Wenatchee School District spokesperson Diana Haglund says one way they're finding savings is by reducing the number of classes high school students take from eight to six. 

"We're making schedule adjustments to Wenatchee High School's schedule from a four period, 4-by-4 block schedule to a six-period day," Haglund said. "That will allow us to save dollars in the form of staffing reductions." 

Another step they're taking to save money is unifying the class schedules at the district's three middle schools. 

The three schools currently have three different schedules. 

"By creating one common schedule that all three middle schools have, we have the ability to share some staffing, like with music specialists or art or others," Haglund said. 

Haglund says the district will save about $5 million by changing schedules at both the middle and high school level, and by closing Columbia Middle School. 

She says all these changes, including the school closure, amount to staffing cuts. 

Those cuts are being targeted to reduce spending because about 80 percent or more of the Wenatchee School District budget goes to staffing. 

The plan is to close Columbia Elementary but put the school building to use in other ways.  

Simply closing the school will eliminate the jobs of teachers and staff members. The closure itself will save the district $3 million. 

Haglund said the schedule at the three middle schools will save $1.5 million while reducing the number of classes students take at the high school will save $800,000. 

The change at the high school involves moving from eight classes spread over two days to a single Monday through Friday schedule with the same six classes every day. 

Hagland said the district will still be meeting graduation requirements with the reduction from eight to six classes, and the high school will still be providing a rigorous instructional experience. 

With a savings of $5 million dollars in the plans so far, the district will still be looking shave off another $3.6 million in expenses to meet the goal of reducing the budget by $8,6 million heading into the 2024-25 school year. 

43 Famous Alumni from Washington State High Schools

Gallery Credit: Reesha Cosby

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