Superintendent’s lone budget cut proposal lops off $4.9 million

Source: The Wenatchee World

 

WENATCHEE — One budget cut proposal, totaling $4.9 million, will be presented to the Wenatchee School Board Tuesday rather than the multiple scenarios expected.

We did discuss putting together a couple of budget scenarios, but when we tried to fill our current certificated staff openings, this is the only budget scenario that did not require a reduction in force in certificated staff (teachers),” Flones wrote in a memo to the board. 

The proposal identifies $4.9 million in reductions, short about $290,000 of the $5.2 million projected deficit for next year.

We are currently looking at the possibilities to use state and federal categorical dollars to assist in reducing the shortfall,” Flones said.

Further reductions would have cut into programs and services, he said, triggering layoff notices and the need to address salary-related bargained items.

During a workshop last Wednesday, board members considered input from a stakeholder survey before providing general direction for administrators to use when building options to reduce the budget gap. The direction was to preserve jobs, protect student services, condense costs, reduce additional pay and look at consolidating administrative and classified services.

Administrators took those priorities into account and set off to create a series of proposed cuts, with varying timelines. The hope had been to post the scenarios Friday, giving board members, staff and the community time to review the options before Tuesday evening’s board meeting.

The number crunching commenced, with word Friday that the scenarios were taking longer and were expected to be posted Monday.

Instead, Flones’ memo with the single proposal was added to the board packet.

It includes a breakdown of the cuts that were identified in a two-step process.

The first was to look at the estimated $3 million in reductions that already had been penciled out or implemented, with open staff positions eliminated or filled by moving employees around. That identified a more firm number of $2.55 million.

The next proposed cuts were based on the discussion and direction from the board, Flones said, which added up to another $2.36 million.

It includes $925,457 in “additional pay,” $622,077 in programs and $428,714 in certificated staff, including $308,000 at the Wenatchee Valley Technical Skills Center.

The process did not look at changing the high school bell schedule, though some board members had requested that to be considered.

We did not address staff related to the secondary school schedules because it would require a reduction in force,” Flones said. “We did absorb or transfer 4.5 staff from Wenatchee High, but it did not impact the school schedule.”

Flones said he believes the proposed budget reduction meets the board’s guidelines and priorities.

We look forward to your input and that of our stakeholders as we move forward in finalizing the budget reductions and priorities of the school board,” he wrote.

The board is expected to take action on the budget cuts at Tuesday’s meeting, which starts at 6 p.m. at the district office, 235 Sunset Ave.