Bellevue School District is working with our community to determine funding priorities and develop budgeting solutions this school year
BSD receives funding from state, federal and local sources. The primary revenue source is the state, and that funding is based on student enrollment.
Student enrollment at Bellevue School District dropped by more than 800 students this current school year and the district is expecting to see an additional decline for the upcoming school year. The future enrollment decline is caused by multiple factors, including the high cost of housing in Bellevue, the new remote working dynamic impacting where people choose to live, and the reduction of international work visas at local tech companies.
To ensure continued financial stability, the district will be aligning our enrollment and staffing, while also continue making sure our budget and spending is as efficient as possible. Knowing that making changes to our budget is not work we do lightly, we are doing this work as a community. Our district convened stakeholders that represent the diversity and uniqueness of our district to help us problem solve and create a plan that meets the needs of our students and staff, while making sure we remain fiscally stable.
Community feedback helps shape the budget
In October 2020 we convened a group of parents, staff, students, and community members to meet and look at our current budget and make recommendations moving forward in alignment with our vision, mission, and strategic plan. The Superintendent Community Advisory Council in April released a report (PDF) that recommended prioritizing student mental health and wellbeing, to offer universal pre-kindergarten so our youngest learners are ready to start their school journey by kindergarten. They want BSD to reimagine our middle school years, and ensure our teachers and staff have the training they need around race and equity.
The report centers around four priority items:
- Mental health supports for students, teachers and district staff and the need to invest in additional resources to meet those needs.
- Equity at the center of all decisions. Barriers need to be removed and new resources created, including universal preschool, tutors for students in every corner of the district, hiring counselors of color to serve communities of color and additional training for BSD staff.
- Partnership with the larger BSD community is critical to success. The community wants to partner with BSD and we need to find more opportunities. In some cases, BSD needs to build or rebuild relationships with community members and find ways to bring diverse groups together.
- Academic excellence remains at the heart of BSD and the district needs to continue to support efforts that bring excellence for our students, staff and schools.
BSD is continuing to work on our budget, which will be finalized this summer.
While many school districts are receiving large funds from the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER), BSD is not. This federal funding is being allocated this year to K-12 school districts based on the previous year’s Title I percentages. These funds are targeted at recovering from the impact of the pandemic on students, staff and schools.
While BSD is grateful for additional funding, it is only about $1,100 per student which will not adequately fund multi-year recovery support for our students.
BSD budget timeline
- January-April: Superintendent Advisory Committee continues meeting
- April 2021: Report released
- May-July: Develop and finalize the budget for the 2021-22 school year
- July: Final overview of the budget
- August: adoption of the budget, public budget hearing
How are school districts funded?
Bellevue School District is funded through state, federal and local dollars. We do lack some flexibility in how we spend our money. For example, thanks to the great support of our community in February 2020, we can sell bonds for school building construction. That money can only be used on capital projects.
The majority of our funding is for educators and staff.
Form F-195 is the official school district budget that must be filed with the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI). The budget must include estimated revenues, expenditures, and fund balances for each fund. This data is to be compared with budgets for the prior and current years. The budget must also include total salary amounts and full-time equivalents. The high, low, and average annual salaries must be displayed by each job classification within each activity of each program. Districts must maintain and file district salary schedules for certificated and classified staff.