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    Dr. Nyland's March 23 Letter to Families Regarding Budget Restoration
    Posted on 03/23/2017

    2017-18 Budget Restoration Update

    Dear Seattle Public Schools families:

    Our district has been facing a $74 million shortfall. Recent Legislative action restored $24 million in local levy funds. Thank you again to our Seattle Legislative delegation, our labor and community partners, and families who worked so hard to help us avoid the Levy Cliff.

    At the board work session on Wed., March 22, the School Board reached consensus on restoring schools’ baseline funding, also known as the Weighted Staffing Standard (WSS). Restoring WSS returns approximately 175 positions to schools.

    At this point, that means that less than 2 percent of all school staff will be reduced. Central administration is still scheduled for a 5 percent reduction. Thank you to the School Board for responding to our family, staff, and partners’ priorities and moving to restore school supports so quickly. We hope to have new school staffing allocations communicated by April 7.

    Initial budget reductions and now restorations have been made with an aim to sustain student services, teaching and learning, and equity focused supports. On March 29, the School Board will review additional budget restoration options and complete the restoration process. Possible restoration options include: school program and equity supports, instructional materials, mentors for new teachers, eliminating opportunity gap supports, and central office.

    With a remaining $50 million shortfall, we urgently need the full state funding promised by the McCleary lawsuit. We are doing what we can to reduce impacts on schools and equity work, but staffing and service reductions of this magnitude will still affect nearly every part of the district. Although restorations have been made to protect classrooms, central administration will continue to take a much larger reduction than any other part of the organization. These cuts will diminish the district’s ability to provide essential support services, resources, and assistance to our students, families, and educators.

    We remain hopeful that some additional funding may become available through the Legislature’s final budget, which is in development now. We also need to refocus on the next phase of budget work, full funding of public education. Full funding is something I believe is achievable and is the moral thing to do for students of Washington state.

    The state is under Washington Supreme Court order to approve a plan by the end of the 2017 Legislative session to fully fund basic education for the 2018-19 school year. So far, none of the proposals coming out of Olympia comes close to doing so.

    As our community demonstrated with the Levy Cliff extension, when aligned, focused, and persistent, we can get great things accomplished on behalf of our students. Together, in partnership with our Seattle Legislative delegation, labor and community partners, staff, and families I am convinced we can realize the promise the state has made – that in Washington, we will ensure every student has access to a great public education.

    For additional details and information, visit the 2017-18 budget webpage or contact us directly at or

    Thank you for the honor and privilege of serving your family and student.


    Dr. Larry Nyland

    March 23 Letter to Families Regarding Budget Restoration Translations