Wenatchee School Dist. Projects Continuing Drops in Enrollment
The latest projections for enrollment in the Wenatchee School District (WSD) show an additional decrease of 90 students for the 2023-24 school year.
The new data was presented at the district's Tuesday board meeting this week.
WSD executive director of business and finance Sean Fitzgerald cited several factors which are thought to have contributed to the district's continuing decline in enrollment, including lower birth rates, the pandemic, and the shuttering of the Alcoa aluminum smelter seven years ago.
Fitzgerald added that the projections are subject to change.
"These projections are preliminary and will be updated as more data becomes available throughout the budget process. This is also a conservative estimate, since enrollment is our primary driver of revenue. We may not see a decline of 90 but we like to plan and budget for that just in case."
The declines in enrollment will translate to a decrease in state funding for the WSD, which has already prompted the district to reduce its staffing levels for the coming years.
The WSD also opted to close its internet academy as part of $8 million in budgetary cuts, but incoming Interim Superintendent Kory Kalahar says most of the students currently enrolled in online classes have chosen to remain with the district.
"The majority of students from WIA have chosen to go to Valley Academy/ The other students, some of them choose to go back to a brick and mortar school. But overwhelmingly, students are looking for a Wenatchee School District-operated online option, and we have that for them."
This week's meeting also included an update on developments during the 2023 legislative session.