Our people are our greatest power!
It is priority on people that guides the development of the Wichita Public Schools’ FY25 budget (for the 2024-25 school year). As the federal COVID relief funding commonly known as ESSER concludes at the end of this academic year, the district must make difficult decisions to prepare a balanced budget.
Four primary factors impact the development of the district’s FY25 budget (see inset). Our budget is the financial roadmap developed to assure that resources are allocated appropriately to achieve the goals of the Wichita Public Schools Every Student Future Ready strategic plan. The FY25 budget is being developed with the input of stakeholders across our community including site councils as well as staff through our budget circles. The process will be transparent, and updates will be posted on this web site.
At the January 22 BOE meeting, Chief Financial Officer Susan Willis painted the picture of our current situation, the deficit we must overcome in order to build a balanced budget for 2024-25 ($42 million), the reductions planned in Phase 1 of the process (totaling $9 million), and options for reducing the budget by $16 million in Phase 2. After extensive discussion, the BOE asked administration to purse the option of closing school buildings at the elementary and/or middle level in order to generate $16 million in phase 2 of the budget development process. Administration will present a recommended list of building closures to the February 12 BOE meeting for consideration.
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Four Primary Factors Influencing FY25 Budget
- ENROLLMENT: Enrollment continues to decline. Fewer students means less funding.
- LOSS OF ESSER FUNDING: All COVID relief funding will be spent by June 30, 2024. About $20 million was used to avoid budget cuts and in FY25 these funds will not be available to balance the budget. Another $20 million was used to hire and improve support positions (ex: counseling, special education, safety). Feedback almost unanimously indicated the desire to keep these supports, which means other budgetary items need to be reduced to retain the positions that we need.
- DEFERRED MAINTENANCE: The District has $1.2 billion in deferred maintenance needs and limited options to meet all the facilities needs outstanding.
- UNDER-UTILIZATION OF FACILITIES: The District is maintaining space for 63,000 students while only receiving funding for 47,000. We’re spreading our resources too thin and need to make adjustments.