Financial report with graphs; calculator and pen sitting on top

On Thursday, August 17, 2023, at the regular board meeting, the school board adopted resolution 2023-19 to approve the proposed the 2023-2024 budget.

The 2023-2024 proposed budget was previously presented to the board by Dr. Kelly Aramaki, Superintendent, and Melissa deVita, Deputy Superintendent of Finance and Operations, on Thursday, August 3, and an interim update was shared with the board on Thursday, May 18.

Budget Overview

At the August 17 meeting, the board voted on:

Budget Headlines

Some key points highlighted regarding the 2023-2024 budget include:

  • Budget continues to reflect the district’s priorities – with no cuts to important programs and services like mental health supports, academic interventions, art, music, theater and a continued commitment to a broad diversity of student programming, and future-focused innovation.
  • Reduced expenditures by $24.7 million (6.3%) with minimal impact to services for students and staff reductions.
  • A significant portion of those savings were driven by right sizing the district by consolidating and transitioning 2 elementary schools. These decisions will have annual ongoing savings for the district.
  • Other reductions were kept away from schools and rather, were focused on the central office and operational supports.
    • Reduced central office by $3.5 million
    • Maintained administrator and teacher leader positions in schools

Budget Assumptions and Adjustments

The budget is based on a series of assumptions, like our anticipated enrollment, the needs of students that will be attending our schools, the number of staff needed to serve those students, and the cost of items in the upcoming year.

  • A budget approximates revenue and expenses over a specified future time period based on a series of assumptions.
  • As these assumptions either become true or differ from reality, adjustments are made in spending plans.
  • These adjustments are based on the principles upon which the budget was built and the overall direction of the district that the board and district leaders have set.
  • If these adjustments are significant enough, the Board of Directors will be informed and consulted.

Questions from the Board

How is the district hiring during budget cutbacks?
The district lost staff throughout the spring and summer within typical pre-pandemic attrition rates (roughly 10% annually), so many of the positions currently posted are refilling roles that have been budgeted, but the individuals who were in those positions are no longer with the district. The roles are being refilled to support students.

Why can’t the district use Capital funds to resolve the budget crisis?
The money from Technology and Capital Projects Levy is designated for very specific purposes, funding student technology, classroom technology, technology training for educators, and maintenance and updates to our school buildings to ensure they are healthy, comfortable and safe. State law restricts the district from using that money to support ongoing education expenses.

So, the district cannot hire additional staff such as counselors, principals, and accountants, etc. — all of which are considered ongoing expenditures and must be paid from the General Fund. The district is not able to transfer monies between these funds except for very specific areas identified by the state. So, the district can’t use that money for the things in the General Fund where we have our budget crisis.

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The Bellevue School District acknowledges that we learn, work, live and gather on the Indigenous Land of the Coast Salish peoples, specifically the Duwamish and Snoqualmie Tribes. We thank these caretakers of this land, who have lived and continue to live here, since time immemorial.