2023-24 & 2024-25 Cost Containment
Wayzata Public Schools Needs to Contain Costs for the Next Two School Years
The district is facing a budget shortfall due to:
- The on-going financial impact caused by the pandemic, including decreased student enrollment in the 2020-21 school year.
- The fact that state funding for education has not kept pace with inflation for several decades. To emphasize this point, the general education per pupil funding formula increased by only 2% for the current fiscal year. Special education has also been underfunded for decades.
- Additional inflationary pressures for some operational functions impacting the district, such as the transportation budget increasing by about 13% in the current fiscal year.
Budget Adjustments Needed for 2023-24 and 2024-25 School Years
Last year, we shared that a multi-year cost containment process would be necessary to provide on-going, future stability to the school district’s General Fund budget. The cost containment process will allow us to:
- Address a number of funding challenges, including decreased student enrollment, caused by the pandemic;
- Maintain the district’s General Fund Balance at a minimum of 7%, an amount consistent with School Board policy; and
- Operate within the parameters of the funds we receive from the state and through our voter-approved tax levies. These are our two primary sources of funding.
Here's What We Have Done to Date
In December, we brought together all district administrative leaders to create an initial list of ideas and considerations for potential budget adjustments. A committee representing district schools and departments then met to create a list of cost containment recommendations to reduce General Fund expenditures by:
- About $7 million or 3.5% of the total General Fund budget for the 2023-24 school year
- About $2.5 million or 1.0% of the total General Fund budget for the 2024-25 school year
The targets listed above are based on conservative assumptions developed in advance of knowing the actual school funding levels that will be established during the current legislative session. The assumptions reflect a revenue increase of 2% each year and expenditures that reflect projected inflationary increases.
Cost Containment Process Summary & Details
The Cost Containment Process Summary and Details can be found in the documents below.
- Cost Containment Process Summary
- Cost Containment Process Details
- Cost Containment Process Presentation
The greatest expenditure category for school districts is the salary and benefits of personnel across many different employee groups. Unfortunately, when difficult cost-reduction decisions like these are being made, the reduction of staffing costs is necessary to achieve the budget targets. Specific program and other identifying information is not being provided in the details so that staff affected by these reductions can be personally notified.
Budget Planning Must Happen Now, State Funding Not Known Until Late May
Unfortunately, the State Legislature won’t conclude its work until late May. Regardless of the outcome of the legislative session, we are expecting there will likely be a remaining gap between revenues and our anticipated expenditures. Once state revenue is known, we will revisit the budget planning decisions being made now and determine if refinements are possible.
Contact Your Local Legislators
We are monitoring the legislative session closely and will continue to engage with our local legislators to ensure they understand the significant needs of our district and public education in general. Reaching out to your local legislators may be helpful to reinforce with them the importance of properly funding public education. Visit the legislator page of the district website to determine who represents you and to connect with district legislators.
Specifically, ask legislators and the Governor to:
- Support school districts by increasing the education funding formula with no new mandated expenditures attached to the new funding;
- Fully fund the special education cross subsidy; and
- Develop a long-term system that can consistently address inflationary pressures.
We welcome your questions and ideas about Cost Containment at communications@wayzataschools.