Seattle Public Schools (SPS) supports families in selecting schools and programs that best meet the needs of their children. There are a number of educational options provided to SPS families including: neighborhood schools, option schools, the Highly Capable Cohort (HCC) pathway, and school enrollment outside of their assigned neighborhood school if space is available.
This commitment to family choice is supported during the open enrollment and school choice process (mid-February through May 31) and can result in enrollment fluctuations and staffing changes at individual schools.
Why does Seattle Public Schools make staffing adjustments multiple times?
Every winter, the district produces initial enrollment projections for the following school year. These enrollment projections are used to assess and plan for staffing, space and material needs. The district supports family choice, so we also conduct an annual school choice process beginning in February.
During the school choice process families can apply to have their children attend a school outside their attendance area. After the school choice process ends on May 31, waitlist moves are conducted and additional entering kindergarten students enroll, school projections for the fall are updated to reflect these changes.
Projections generated in June support more accurate staffing allocation for schools and create more stable situations for our schools leading into the fall. Fall staff adjustments, if necessary, are made again after school begins.
How do mitigation requests work?
Each spring, schools are allowed to submit requests for additional staffing via mitigation.
By definition, these requests represent staffing above standards, and are not driven by changes in enrollment projections. Mitigation requests are typically granted to support unique school and service delivery models (e.g. K-8 or language immersion) as well as schools with high needs or multiple programs. These requests are not always granted, but held if and until funding is allocated for that purpose.
Why doesn’t the district wait until June to do all of the school staffing?
Early staffing in February, although not final, is needed so SPS does not miss out on hiring top candidates, especially in hard to fill positions like special education. In addition, early enrollment projections are conducted so we meet state law which requires we notify staff if there is a need for a Reduction in Force (RIF) by May 15, and so we can prepare buildings and begin purchasing resources for the district’s anticipated number of students.
What happened this year and what are the June 2016 enrollment projections?
The district made initial enrollment projections earlier than ever this year in order to support schools in their preliminary budget planning and staffing process. Initial enrollment projections were provided in early February.
Based on the June enrollment projections, we are expecting 53,107 students (headcount) for our 2016-17 school year, an increase of 783 students over last year’s official October 1 headcount.
How were June enrollment projections different than February?
While districtwide enrollment remained unchanged, enrollment projections by school shifted.
The June enrollment projections reflect open enrollment results, wait list moves, anticipated needs of each service/program and actual school capacity.
Will schools have other adjustments and how is the district working to mitigate disruptions to classrooms and students?
The next planned staffing adjustment will occur after students arrive in September. All staffing will be reviewed again in late September/early October.
A central funding reserve has been created to protect schools as much as possible from staffing reductions after the start of school in 2016. This reserve was created in direct response to our community’s request in previous years.
How were the June staffing adjustments generated?
Once the June enrollment projections were finalized, the data was sent to the budget team. The budget team used the same Weighted Student Staffing (WSS) formula that was used in February to generate a new staff allocation.