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2024-2025 Budget Development

2024-2025 Budget Development Overview

School districts across the State of Washington, including Oak Harbor Public Schools are facing budget reductions going into the 2024-2025 school year. Despite the previous year’s successful reduction of approximately $5 million in expenditures, Oak Harbor Public Schools continues to grapple with long-term budget impacts.

To address our budgetary constraints, we have recently established a Small Teams Budget Advisory Committee comprising of representatives from our labor partners, cabinet members, parents, and a student. This committee worked diligently to identify priorities aligned with our strategic plan, which guided our reduction process for the adoption of our 2024-2025 annual operating budget. 

We are committee to keep you informed throughout the process and will update this page accordingly.

How Our Schools are Funded

74 percent state funded 


   State Funding:  These funds are based on student enrollment and other factors. The state funding model falls short in meeting the current needs of students.




12 percent local funding


Local Taxes: These funds come from the voter-approved Educational Programs & Operations Levy making up part of what the state does not fund for our schools.






13 percent federally funded



Federal Funding:   These funds are for specialist programs and impact aid. OHPS receives impact aid to offset some of the loss in property tax due to federal property.




.3 percent other funding



Other Sources: These funds come from sources such as school meal sales, grants, gifts, donations, and interest income.



Why Do We Need to do Budget Reductions?

The state’s funding model falls short in meeting the current needs of our students, which makes our schools more reliant on local levies and impact aid dollars to cover the basic needs and services for students in Oak Harbor Public Schools.  The following factors also contributed to the need to reduce budget expenditures to balance the 2024-2025 budget:

Increasing Student Needs

Federal and state special education allocation funding is not keeping pace with the needs of students.   Special education students make up approximately 20 percent  (1,200 students) of Oak Harbor public schools, which is above the cap in state funding. Approximately 36 percent of our students with special needs have severe disabilities requiring specialized care and instruction to support their learning. Additionally, NAS Whidbey Island is an Exceptional Family Member Program Base (levels 1-6), which means more families with special needs attend Oak Harbor Public Schools.

Increasing Costs for Goods and Services

Schools are feeling the impacts of inflation, too. Inflation has impacted the cost of both staffing and goods. Everything costs more now such as professional services, benefits, food, gasoline, utilities, etc. are all significantly more expensive and all things schools rely on to operate. These expenses are considering MSOCs or Materials, Supplies and Operating Costs. 

Although inflationary factors have been reflected in state funding formulas, it has not kept up with actual costs and falls short of the true expenses associated with operating a school district.  Local funding support is also impacted by inflation. Levy collection amounts are voted on and set for multiple years at a time and as a result, do not keep up with inflationary factors.  Oak Harbor Public Schools levy is currently not at the funding cap level, which means we are not maximizing the amount of revenue we could through local tax initiatives.

Sunset of COVID-19 Relief Funding

The expiration of one-time COVID relief funding (ESSER and state stabilization funds) that helped schools to weather the pandemic expense storm is no longer available for support, which equaled to approximately $5 million for Oak Harbor Public Schools. These state and federal dollars disguised funding challenges within K-12 schools, including insufficient funding provided via the state’s prototypical funding formula, for the past several years. With the expiration of these funding sources, districts must make difficult decisions required to balance their budgets while meeting the existing needs of students post-pandemic.

Increase in Staffing Costs

With the increase in staffing costs over time and the sunsetting of the COVID-19 relief dollars, Oak Harbor Public School’s budget is predominately made up of salaries and benefits. Approximately 88 percent of the general fund is spent on staffing costs, which is not sustainable long-term, especially if we are trying to meet the priorities of our community such as safety enhancements and professional development. 

Additional Considerations

Oak Harbor Public Schools is anticipating decreasing enrollment projections over the next few years due to a smaller kindergarten class in the 2023-2024 school year. Birth rates across the nations are also contributing to decreasing enrollment and school district funding. 

Oak Harbor Public Schools is reliant on Impact Aid and Local Levy funding. These dollars are not guaranteed and are based on what is approved by congress or local taxpayers, which is why it is important to be fiscally conservative with budget forecasting and reporting.

Frequently Asked Questions

Oak Harbor Public Schools will continue to use information gathered from the form below to update the Frequently Asked Questions section of this webpage. Please share any questions using the following google form.

Budget Community Questions Form

  • Through the establishment of the Small Teams Budget Advisory Committee, Oak Harbor Public Schools is soliciting input from labor partners, administrators, parents and a student to guide decision-making. Additionally, District Leadership have provided community presentations through our annual State of the Schools, chamber luncheon, and committee meetings. 

    The community-wide Strategic Planning process conducted this year will be directly aligned with establishing priorities for budget considerations and future planning as well. More information about the Strategic Planning process is on our website.

Budget Communications