2024-2025 Budget Development

Like other school districts across the state, Washougal is facing a budget shortfall. In our district, we have a projected budget shortfall of $3 million for the 2024-2025 school year.

ROUND 1 UPDATE 

When we shared the $3 million shortfall earlier this year, we also shared the possibility of a round two of reductions. There are four factors that play into the need for additional reductions – the outcome of the legislative session, inflation impacts on current spending, student enrollment decline, and bargaining with our labor partners. 

Compensation Concessions Update 

Currently, we reached agreement for a pay reduction for the superintendent, interim superintendent, directors and supervisors. Our DO clerical staff agreed to a pay freeze.  The Principal Association of Washougal agreed to take less than they bargained for. The classified bargaining unit has agreed to an increase that is less than the Implicit Price Deflator (IPD) percentage. The coaches and advisors association (Washougal Association of Activities or WAA) has agreed to take no increase. The interim superintendent, Aaron Hansen, has agreed to a lower compensation than Superintendent Templeton, including all of the previously agreed to salary concessions. 

ROUND 2 UPDATE

The district has been actively monitoring the four factors for round two: the outcome of the legislative session, inflation impacts on current spending, student enrollment decline, and bargaining with our labor partners. In order to ensure that district leadership can create a budget that puts the district back on sound financial footing, we will need to make additional reductions. Capacity for Round 1 and 2 staff reductions was approved by the Washougal School Board at their April 23, 2024 meeting. 

Based on the updates for each of the four factors, listed below, an additional $1 million in reductions is needed.

As with round 1, administrative positions and pay will be the category with the largest percentage reduction. These administrative reductions align with the priorities identified by the community earlier in the budget process. 

Factor 1:  Legislative Session Impacts 

We advocated for increased funding and encouraged our legislators to address the significant issues with the state funding model for education during the short legislative session.  We are thankful that the legislature provided a small amount of additional funding for materials, supplies, and operating costs ($21 per student).  The legislature also provided a small increase in the funding formula for teacher assistants and office support. Finally, they increased the funding cap for Special Education by 1%, which will provide additional funding support for our students with disabilities, but still leaves a significant gap the district must cover. These increases are not enough to keep pace with the increase in costs the district is experiencing. 

Factor 2: Inflation Update 

The district has been notified of additional, significant increases in costs for next year.  These include a 31% increase in our insurance rates which will cost approximately $100,000. Our utility, food, and fuel costs will increase, and we are budgeting for approximately $500,000 in increased expenses due to inflation, including the insurance increase. 

Factor 3: Enrollment Update

Our enrollment is projected to be lower again next year.  This is based on fewer students registered for kindergarten this fall than will graduate at the end of the year, and the results of our enrollment survey of families. There are also additional students at the secondary level who are choosing to attend the Clark College Running Start program.  These two factors will reduce district funding. 

Factor 4: Bargaining Update  

WAE – Teachers, counselors, and certificated staff

We shared information about our financial situation, including the need to reduce staff, our fund balance below policy, and that our school district is on the state “watch list” for districts having significant financial challenges. The district has met six times to bargain with the teacher association, but we have not yet reached agreement.  

The teachers have asked for $1 million in raises, an increase of 5.7% from their current salaries.  The district has offered $397,000 in increases, or about 2.3%. The teacher association and district will meet again to bargain on May 13, 2024.  A full copy of the bargaining proposals are linked below, and are posted on the Bargaining Updates page on the WSD website.

PSE – Paraeducators, custodians, bus drivers and other classified staff

We shared information about our financial situation, including the need to reduce staff, our fund balance below policy, and the fact that our school district is on the state’s “watch list” for districts having significant financial challenges. We have reached a TA with PSE and are waiting for ratification.  We met 5 times and discussed compensation (Schedule A) only. The TA agrees to a compensation agreement that is below the IPD (Implicit Price Deflator or inflationary adjustment) 

Round 1 Budget Shortfall

Our shortfall is caused by several factors, which include the state underfunding education, inflation, declining enrollment, and a levy rollback required for next year.

Infographic with budget development information, four factors impacting this year's shortfall, and contact information for legislators

Reductions are needed to balance the budget

District leaders have made reductions during the 2023-2024 school year, including a hiring freeze, reduction in building budgets, and salary concessions by administrative staff. These changes are needed to help us end the year with enough in our reserve to pay monthly expenses.

In addition, we must make additional budget reductions for next year’s budget. With a $3 million shortfall, cuts in any one area are not going to be enough. District leaders are gathering input from students, families, staff, and community members about how to prioritize the reductions, while still providing excellent service to our students. Learn about ways you can help inform this process.

Why is this Round 1 of reductions? Why do you need to plan for Round 2?

There are four primary factors that will determine whether we need an additional round of budget reductions. The state legislature is currently in session, and considering legislation that may change school funding for next school year, as well as requirements for schools. We are monitoring inflation, especially for things like utilities, which are likely to increase next year. We will be negotiating contracts with our teachers and classified bargaining groups, which may have an impact. Finally, we are monitoring current spending since how much we spend this year will be a factor in where we start the next budget cycle.

2024-2025 Budget Development Timeline

About the budget development process

Each year district leaders and the school board work through the budget planning process to create a roadmap that prioritizes student learning and important programs our community has identified through the strategic planning process.

This process begins each winter, and ends with the board adoption of the budget in August. During the process student, family, staff, and community priorities are identified through surveys, and this feedback is incorporated into the program and staffing plan.

Over the last five years, our enrollment has decreased by about 10%. Washougal experienced a significant growth in enrollment when families moved into the Sunset Ridge neighborhood in the early 2000s. As the last of that large wave of students graduates, our enrollment is projected to decline over the next four to five years. Enrollment is the primary driver of funding for our schools, so we are adjusting staffing to balance our budget, while still advancing student achievement.

Throughout the year, the board and leadership monitor the financial and enrollment data, and real-time adjustments are made to spending. The information about the budget and enrollment is posted to the website as part of our open and transparent board process. This lets community members with questions about the budget process review this data. We are also working to publish additional budget resources to our website to make sure we’re providing helpful and timely information about these processes.

WSD Budget cycle showing evolution from December presentation of governor's budget to August adoption, with public input, board oversight, and community input

We don’t plan the budget. Rather, we budget the plan. – Kris Grindy, Business and Operations Director

Monthly Updates in Board Docs

Each month, a budget update is provided in the BoardDocs system to the Washougal School District board of directors. Community members can find the budget updates in BoardDocs using this link, categorized by each month’s meeting.

Board Budget and Staffing Update 2-13-2024

The board reviewed the budget survey responses and reduction plan created to address the $3 Million shortfall.

Board Budget and Staffing Update 1-23-2024

The board reviewed an update on the budget process, including a summary of survey feedback as the district prepares for $3 million in budget reductions.

Community Budget Survey

Share your feedback about needed budget reductions through our survey.

Board Budget and Staffing Update 1-9-2024

The board reviewed a budget update and the process to identify budget reductions for the 2024-2025 school year. This presentation includes a breakdown of the current budget expenditures, ways the district will gather feedback, and the timeline for round 1 of reductions.

Board Enrollment and Staffing Update December 12, 2023

The board reviewed an updated enrollment and staffing report, which provided an update on the ending fund balance for fiscal year 2022-2023. The report includes information about the need for significant reductions for the 2024-2025 school year, and information about how community members can advocate with our legislators in alignment with the board’s legislative priorities.

Board Enrollment and Staffing Update November 6, 2023

The board has reviewed the enrollment and staffing update, which includes updated projections based on September and October student enrollment.

Board approves budget August 23, 2023

The board has approved the budget for the 2023-2024 school year. The board reviewed the budget and the 2023-2024 Budget Presentation, which shares key information about the coming year.

Draft Budget Available July 10, 2023

A draft copy of the Washougal School District 2023-2024 budget is available for community members to review. The Washougal School District board of Directors will meet for a regularly scheduled board meeting on August 22, which will include a budget hearing to approve the budget.

Copies of the budget are also available for review at the WSD District Office, 4855 Evergreen Way.

These links provide the following draft budget documents:

  1. WSD F195 and F195F (entire draft budget document as submitted to OSPI)
  2. WSD 2023-24 Budget Four-Year Fund Summary draft for the 2023-24 school year budget plus the 2024-25 through the 2026-27 forecasted budget summary outlined by fund. The forecasted budget is based on information known at this time and may change based on future legislative changes or enrollment adjustments that would impact the district’s overall budget.
  3. WAC 392-123-054 which governs the budget adoption process for school districts, including providing information to community members about the budget process and how to provide feedback on the budget as it is developed and adopted.

Board Budget Presentation from the June 20, 2023 WSD Board Meeting

June 20, 2023 Board Budget Update including preliminary general fund and capital project fund budgets for the 2023-204 school year. This includes historical information about the district’s enrollment, ending fund balance, state funding, and ongoing budget challenges. Please read through this presentation to learn about our current staffing plan, general fund preliminary budget, capital project budget, and resources from the business office.

Monthly Updates in Board Docs

Each month, a budget update is provided in the BoardDocs system to the Washougal School District board of directors. Community members can find the budget updates in BoardDocs using this link, categorized by each month’s meeting.