BOE hears an update on the 24-25 budget development
Board of Education members heard an update to the WPS budget development for the 24-25 fiscal year and beyond during their January 22 meeting. Chief Financial Officer Susan Willis shared that the district’s desire is to do what’s best for our students and our staff, but we are facing challenges which include declining enrollment, increasing costs, large building maintenance needs, and the loss of COVID relief funding. Our reductions for next year’s budget are anticipated to be $42 million.
Around $9 million in Phase 1 cuts have already been made at the administrative level, including eliminating some positions through attrition, cutting non-school program budgets and changing some programs in our schools.
The BOE asked administration to bring back a proposal to reduce the budget by an additional $16 million in Phase 2 recommendations, which includes school closures. If building closures were not considered as an option, the equivalent staff cut would be 230 positions based on an average teacher salary and benefits.
“Nothing has been decided yet, but there will be many factors that go into a building closure plan. It won’t be one thing,” said Superintendent Kelly Bielefeld.
“No current employee is expected to lose his or her employment with the result of this process. We are going to put people over places,” he said.
A school closure plan will be presented to the BOE during their February 12 meeting. If the BOE decides to go forward with the plan, it would be finalized before spring break.