The Wenatchee School District's (WSD) Board of Directors has updated its budget projections for the coming year and has released more details about the possible cuts it is making to rectify the shortfall.

The information was presented as part of the Board's regularly-scheduled meeting on Tuesday (March 26).

Among the announcements were a new projection for the District's total budget shortfall, which WSD spokesperson Diana Haglund says went down by roughly $700,000.

"Earlier projections that we had shared with the public in February were really based on estimates. Often times, when we look at making staff reductions, we use an average teacher's salary as our baseline. So the number did change just based on the fact that we now have actual figures regarding those salaries."

A major portion of the district's $8.9 million budgetary stopgap strategy is the reduction of 63 staff members.

Haglund says most of those are provisional staff who have less than three years tenure with the District, and everyone whose position has been identified as a possible cut has been notified.

"We do know who all of those specific people are. That's part of our process, to make sure that we let folks know as early in the hiring season as possible about their potential loss of position or non-renewal."

The Quake 102.1 logo
Get our free mobile app

Haglund says the number of projected job cuts hasn't changed since the District released its original outline for staff reductions in February, although the update does include the addition of transitional kindergarten teachers to the list.

The plan also includes a $2.5 million reduction in materials, supplies, and operating costs.

Nearly one-third of the total projected reductions would come from the closure of Columbia Elementary, which would save the District $2.8 million and include 28 job cuts.

Haglund says the District does have another plan which involves postponing the closure of Columbia until the 2025-26 school year, and something she called "an option" for keeping Columbia open that would involve making sweeping, district-wide cuts to a variety of student programs like extracurriculars and sports.

The District says the cuts are necessary due to declining enrollment at its schools and projections for a continuing decline in its number of incoming students in the years ahead.

The District will hold its second community hearing on the proposed closure of Columbia Elementary on April 18, and is expected to make a final decision about the school's fate at its board meeting on May 14.

More From The Quake 102.1