Bellevue School District is working with our community to determine funding priorities and develop budgeting solutions this school year
Our school district faces a budget deficit of nearly $30 million over the next two years. While the district had been preparing for a drop in revenue because of expected flat enrollment and changes in the state school funding formula, the global pandemic has enlarged that funding shortfall.
We have an obligation to our community to ensure a fiscally sound budget, and that means making difficult decisions around spending. At the end of the day, we must have a balanced budget, which at this time means making cuts.
We are not alone in this work. School districts across our region are making similar cuts, as nationwide enrollment numbers have dropped this school year, and the cost to bring students back to schools safely has increased. We know these initial conversations about budget tradeoffs and priorities are not easy, and they are emotional. We all want what is best for our students in BSD.
Making cuts to our budget is not work that we make lightly, and 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. You can read more about the Superintendent Advisory Committee.
Why does our district face a budget shortfall?
Bellevue School District saw a drop in enrollment in the 2020-21 school year of about 3 percent, or about 700 students. The district budgeted for this school year based on the projected number of students. The state provides funding based on enrollment. But the cost to educate students has not decreased. So, our district, just like our neighboring districts, need to make cuts over the next several years to ensure a balanced budget.
In addition, to prepare our schools to reopen safely, the district needs to spend $4 million for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for staff, new facility needs to ensure social distancing, additional cleaning, transportation changes, staff training and COVID prevention.
2020-21 budget timeline
- July: Presentation to the Board about the budget shortfall (PDF)
- September: Superintendent Advisory Committee formed
- October: 14 S-CAC meets for the first time
- November 18: S-CAC meeting
- December 16: S-CAC meeting
- January 6: S-CAC meeting
- January 13: S-CAC meeting
- 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.