Ongoing budget shortfall at Wayzata Schools forces district to reduce costs

  • District seeks $7 million or 3.5% General Fund budget reduction in 2023-24 school year; and $2.5 million or 1.0% reduction in 2024-25 school year

In the face of ongoing budget woes, the Wayzata School District is faced with some difficult decisions. Funding from the State of Minnesota has not kept pace with inflation for several decades among other issues, according to school officials and committees charged with studying the funding shortfall.

These changes will undoubtedly have a profound impact on the district and its students, leaving many parents and educators worried about what the future holds. As the budget comes into sharper view, the district must weigh the consequences of each decision, knowing that the choices they make will have far-reaching implications for the community.

Superintendent Chace Anderson identified three main drivers causing issues for the districts budget woes in a press release:

  • 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.

According to the information provided, staffing salaries and benefits of personnel across many different employee groups are the largest expenditure the district faces.

To ensure that staff affected by these reductions are personally notified, program-specific and other identifying information is being withheld from the details at this time.

School officials encourage stakeholders to contact their elected representatives in order to advocate for the district to benefit from these actions:

  • 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.

Residents can find their elected officials by visiting the Legislator webpage at the School District website.

Daniel Gustafson & Elisha Gustafson Realtors
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