Wenatchee School District Sees $2.8 Million in Savings Amidst Budget Cut Discussions
The Wenatchee School Board saw a glimmer of good news while discussing the district budget’s guiding principles and goals Tuesday.
The district budget’s guiding principles and goals were drafted through the cabinet team, union leadership, and the budget board committee.
Here are the guiding principles that were drafted:
- Employ district strategic plan core values and priorities when making budgeting decisions.
- Building Future-Ready Students - Our Big 6 Outcomes
- Core Values: Excellence in Learning, Equity, Accountability
- Priorities: Thriving Environment, Opportunities, Partnerships
- Be timely, transparent, collaborative, and accountable throughout the process.
- Follow language of Collective Bargaining Agreements throughout the process.
Since 2015, the Wenatchee School District has seen a drop in enrollment rates, with the district looking into a two-year timeline for budget reductions.
“Student enrollment numbers drive our general fund revenue sources for the budget,” Interim Superintendent Bill Eagle said. “So the state and federal dollars we receive to operate the district are directly-related to the number of students we serve and to the needs of those students.”
The school district also proposed absorbing vacant positions rather than finding a replacement, notifying staff and union leadership about possible reductions, and spreading budget impacts across all grade levels, in order to offset costs.
The Wenatchee School District distributes funds in five categories: the general fund, capital projects, debt service, transportation and extracurricular activities for middle and high school students.
The general fund holds the largest portion, with 92% in the budget. Approximately 83% of the general fund goes towards staff salary packages.
Eagle informed the board of the $2.8 million they saved in the district’s general fund, after reducing and reallocating certain costs last year.
The general fund was originally budgeted for 16.25 million, but the actual fund came out to approximately 19.1 million.
Eagle shared that the district’s full-time enrollment (FTE) average was also 55 students higher than what they projected.
Board Member Laura Jaecks said they shouldn’t undervalue the news about the $2.8 million in savings, after previously thinking that they would be seeing a $10 million shortfall.
The board is hoping to have budget scenarios available by mid to late February.
In the meantime, school staff will be asked for additional feedback about the budget later this week.