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.
This potential deficit is the result of two key failures by the state.
First, the state has not fully funded education as it is constitutionally required to do. While the Legislature has started to address their obligation regarding all-day kindergarten, class size, Maintenance, Supplies and Operating Costs (MSOC), and transportation, the state has been underfunding compensation for school district staff for more than 30 years.
Second, the Legislature has also made it impossible for our community to make up the difference by restricting how much we can collect from our voter approved levies. This has increased our 2017-18 budget gap by 30 million dollars and is known as the Levy Cliff. The Levy Cliff will happen, unless State Legislators take action by April 2017 and make adjustments to House Bill SHB 2893, an act relating to school levies passed in 2010.
Action You Can Take
The district is actively lobbying our legislature to fully fund education. However, we are legally prohibited from encouraging the public to lobby on our behalf.
Learn more and support the Seattle School Board’s resolution to ensure full funding of public education by visiting the Network for Excellence in Washington Schools' website.