Headshot of Superintendent Aramaki with Superintendent’s Blog: 24-25 Budget” in text

Dear BSD Community,

Happy Year of the Dragon, and acknowledgement of Black History Month! I hope you are all having a wonderful mid-winter break!

Since the announcement on December 14 to pause the middle school consolidation study, I’ve been working with staff to determine how to proceed in addressing our budget reality. I want to share with you my latest thinking about how we are going to approach budget reductions for the upcoming school year, and then how I will keep you informed over the next couple of months.


School Board Direction on Cutting $10 million

On January 25, the school board worked together in a special meeting to provide the district with year-over-year budget development guidelines and this year’s specific parameters on how to approach cutting $10 million in expenditures from the budget. This year’s board budget parameters will give you a good idea of how we will be approaching budget cuts this coming year. The following are a few key parameters for this year:

  • Prioritize students and their educational experience; start with cuts furthest from the classroom
  • Find ways to reduce the budget by $10 million through efficiencies and trimming, versus elimination of programs or services
  • Maintain equitable support, services and opportunities to continue to close opportunity gaps and deliver on our Equity and Accountability commitments
  • Build on the educational excellence of BSD to retain and attract students
  • Work with community partners, like the Bellevue Schools Foundation to increase revenue through community donations.

In addition, the school board has asked that we prioritize mental health, current class sizes (not raising them), enrichment opportunities for kids, and preserving educator jobs as much as possible.


Preview of Areas for Budget Cuts

Based on our board’s guidelines, I am working on a budget reduction plan to propose to the school board that will likely focus cuts in these areas:

  1. Decrease Central Spending – We will start our cuts with central office spending. Last year, with the goal of cutting $2 million centrally, we cut approximately $4 million. This coming year, we will further reduce the central office budget.
  2. MSOC Cuts – Aligned with decreased enrollment, we will reduce our materials, supplies, and operating costs (MSOC) budget, both at the schools and centrally.
  3. Aligning Staff to Enrollment – As is typical each year, we will align staffing to match the number of students.
  4. Reduce Spending on Operations – While maintaining quality service to schools and community, we will cut spending from operations through maximizing efficiencies.
  5. Reduce Contracted Paraprofessionals – A big special education expenditure is the use of contracted paraprofessionals when we can’t hire enough paraprofessionals as a district. Through increased recruitment efforts this year, we have been able to save $1 million. This coming year, our goal is to cut even more by improving our recruitment and hiring of our own paraprofessionals.


Bellevue Schools Foundation

Finally, we are partnering with the Bellevue Schools Foundation (BSF) this year to try to close as much of the $10 million budget gap as possible. While we are limited in what we can collect in our levy, we are unlimited in what our community can give through the foundation. We encourage families to consider helping us shrink our budget deficit by contributing to the Bellevue Schools Foundation. An average donation of $150 per student would raise $2 million for the district. To learn more and to get inspired by all that the Bellevue Schools Foundation does for our kids, I encourage you to attend Spring for Schools, the main BSF showcase and fundraiser of the year, on Saturday, March 30. The cost to attend is free.

That’s it for now. Enjoy the rest of our mid-winter vacation.


Dr. Kelly Aramaki
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.