Budget Office Frequently Asked Questions

How can I get a copy of the district’s current budget?

The Seattle Public Schools budget is available to download.pdf icon

School funding seems complicated. Where can I get information that explains school financing in more details?

Each year the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI), publishes a public guide to the budget: Organization and Financing of Washington Public Schoolspdf icon.

How much does an average Seattle teacher cost?

For the 2015-16 school year, a teacher in Seattle Public Schools costs approximately $97,960. This includes base salary, time responsibility incentive (TRI), medical and other benefits.

Specific details include:

Base salary: $52,390
TRI: $17,658
Misc stipends: $1,300
Total Salary: $ 71,348

Medical insurance: $10,016
Pension and other benefits: $16,596
Total Benefits: $26,612
Total Cost: $97,960

This is an average, and per state law and the collective bargaining contract, teacher compensation varies widely based on education and experience.

TRI is additional compensation paid to teachers for work outside of the 180 regular instruction days. In addition to this teachers can earn stipends for additional responsibilities such as extra-curricular activities.

Where do I find information about the school funding model?

The Weighted Staffing Standards (WSS) model is included in the Budget instructions for developing 2015-16 school budgets, commonly referred to as the “Gold Book” internally. Open the Gold Book.pdf icon

A work group meets annually to review the model and make recommendations on any adjustments.

What funding sources do schools have?

Schools receive state and local levy dollars through the Weighted Staffing Standards (WSS) model. This model allocates teachers, counselors, librarians and office staff based on the number of students, size of school, free and reduced lunch student counts and the programs offered.

Schools may also receive funding from federal programs (primarily Title I), state programs (Learning Assistance Program), city programs (Family & Education Levy), Parent Teacher Associations and other grants.

Where can I see how much was allocated to my school based on the Weighted Staffing Standards?

Specific allocations for each school are online in WSS Allocations on the Budget Office website, under “Current Budget”. Open the WSS Allocations.pdf icon

Additionally, there is a “schools” section in the complete district budget, Seattle Public Schools 2015-2016 Adopted Budget, also located on the Budget Office website under “Current Budget”. The individual schools’ budgets begin on page 76.

Do schools have input on their budgets?

Yes. Each school has a Building Leadership Team (BLT) that promotes and facilitates collaborative site-based decision making. The BLT and the principal oversee the facilitation and development of the school budget. The district provides each school with a staffing allocation designed to meet the student to teacher ratio requirements for basic, bilingual and special education as well as office positions.

In addition, the district allocates discretionary funds that allow each school to customize their budgets to meet their individual needs. These discretionary dollars can be used for supplies, curriculum, professional development or other needs. Schools may also use their discretionary allocations to fund additional staff.

What positions are at schools that are not allocated in a school budget?

Many positions are centrally funded but actually work in the schools. This is to enable school leaders to focus on academic issues.

Examples of these positions including nutrition services workers, custodians, occupational and physical therapists, speech and language specialists, audiologists, psychologists, instrumental music teachers, family and support workers, bilingual instructional assistants, school security specialists, bus drivers, grounds and maintenance workers.

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