The Eastmont School District will be cutting its budget moving forward, although it's not dealing with deep shortfalls faced by the Wenatchee and Moses Lake districts. 

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Eastmont is largely having to compensate for the disappearance of special COVID-19 funding as are all districts across the state. 

Assistant Superintendent Matt Charlton says it amounts to $3 million, which can be made with minimal disruption. 

"We are doing that primarily through attrition of staff members that are retiring or moving on," said Charlton. "And then we are making some, what I would call stuff cuts, where we have to examine expenditures of items of curriculum, of computer technology, maintenance, all those types of areas." 

The Wenatchee and Moses Lake districts are having to make much deeper cuts after both made major accounting errors. 

The Wenatchee district is closing an elementary school and making further internal changes and staffing cuts to overcome a $9 million shortfall. The Moses Lake district announced 185 layoffs in two waves last month to deal with a $20 million shortage. 

Both Wenatchee and Moses Lake, like Eastmont, will have to make up for the loss of COVID-19 funding as well, known as the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER). All ESSER funding must be spent by August 30. 

Meanwhile, the Eastmont District will have to compensate for a small shortfall in the upcoming school year. 

Spending is expected to exceed revenues by about $650,000 ($96.2 million in expenditures vs. $95.6 million in revenues). 

The district, like most across the state, is experiencing a slight decline in enrollment. The 12th grade graduating class was 500 while the incoming kindergarten class totaled 370 in the Eastmont district.  

Eastmont is expected to have a total K-12 enrollment in the upcoming school year of 5,546, a drop of 188 from the school year just ended. 

But Charlton said they’re projecting to only have 60-70 fewer students because they’ll be picking up students at various grade levels through transfers (the Choice Transfer Request Portal, etc.) 

The district could choose to offset the $650,000 budget shortfall through its Fund Balance, which is a reserve or savings account. 

Charlton says the school board and the past two superintendents have done a good job of setting aside money to build the fund balance.  

“We have a healthy savings account, a healthy reserve that can help offset when you have a decline in revenue,” Charlton said.  

The fund balance for the just ended school year was just over $11 million. It’s expected to be $10.4 million in the upcoming school year. 

The school board’s policy is to keep the fund balance at or above 8 percent of the overall budget, which would currently be roughly $8.3 million.  

The Eastmont School Board will finalize the next school district budget on July 15. The fiscal year for school districts in Washington state begins on September 1 of every year. Larger school districts like Eastmont must have their budgets in place in August. 

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