Skip To ContentSkip To Content
    Budget Guiding Principles and Projections
    Posted on 02/21/2017

    Seattle Public Schools will need to plan for the worst-case scenario

    Unless the Legislature takes immediate action, the worst case scenario must be planned for. The potential deficit will affect the entire district including central office supports (maintenance, programs, services, and accountability), support for teaching and learning, educators, school leaders and support staff. We will need to make significant cuts and or leave critical positions unfilled. Most of significantly, it will affect our students – the children that we have all committed to serve.

    Initial reduction recommendations have been made that protect school services. These reductions, if approved by the School Board, could bring the gap down to an estimated $44 million. The budget reductions beyond this point will be challenging for all of us. Eight-five percent of our budget is salaries and much of the remaining budget includes fixed costs like utilities and insurance. Forty-four million dollars represents over 440 positions within the district. The worst-case scenario budget will be finalized on January 11 and lay the foundation for school-based budgeting in February/early March.

    Unless the Legislature takes action to address school funding, the district has a projected deficit of $74 million for the 2017-18 school year.

    This is the largest budget deficit we have faced since the late 1970s and has the potential to erode many of the programs, supports and services students are currently receiving. Closing the $74 million gap will be the most difficult challenge we’ve faced in decades. Right now there are many unknowns. These unknowns will cause challenges and disruptions to the good work that our schools, educators and central office staff are doing.

    We want to thank our Seattle Legislative delegation for their continued support to provide ample and sustainable funding for K-12 education. They have been extremely helpful partners in supporting our next generation of learners.

    Watch the Feb. 21, 2017 press conference with Governor Jay Inslee, Dr. Nyland and other superintendents from regional schools districts including Federal Way, Lake Washington, and Sunnyside.

    2017-18 Budget Development Guiding Principles

    Seattle Public Schools values our students, our staff, and our families. We are committed to educational excellence for every student. We will work thoughtfully, diligently, and transparently to achieve the best outcomes possible for SPS students, while acknowledging that any budget cuts are not in the best interest of our students while facing unprecedented budget challenges.

    2017-18 Budget Projections

    This is how the district and student supports including staff are currently funded.

    Seattle Public Schools receives funding from a variety of sources. The five major resource categories include state, local levy, federal, other revenue, and other resources.

    Budgeted Resources by Type 2016-17

    Budget Resources 16-17: 56.5% state, 25% local, 6.7% federal, 5.1% other revenue, 6.6% other resrouces

    General Fund Expenditures 2016-17

    A $74 million deficit is nearly 10 percent of our operating budget.

    The pie charts below illustrate the breakdown of how SPS operating budget is spent.

    General Fund 16-17: 60.8% teaching, 10.8% teaching support, 16.1% student support, 6.3% principals, 5.9% central office

    Another way to look at this is to compare Direct Services and Support Services.

    Direct and Support Services 16-17 81% direct, 19% support

    Direct Services can be categorized in two groups:

    1.) The school allocation budget which is managed by the individual schools, and

    2.) Centrally held budget that pays for staff and supplies that are exclusively in the schools, such as teachers, nurses, instructional assistants, custodians and food service workers. This also includes the utilities that heat our schools and the costs of transporting students to and from school.

    Support Services include the staff that do not work directly in the schools with students, but rather support the staff in schools and are instrumental to running a district. Support Services include the costs of processing payroll, paying bills, administering programs, managing grants and hiring staff. It also includes the costs of our technology team, our delivery drivers, warehouse staff and insurance.


    2017-18 Budget Development Timeline

    We don’t anticipate, based on the Legislature’s past practice that they will pass an approved budget until June 2017 and this will be highly disruptive for our schools, staff and students. The district will need to plan for the worst-case scenario in order to perform essential school and department planning for the 2017-18 school year.

    Visit our 2017-18 Budget Development Timeline webpage