Frequently Asked Questions About the 2023-24 Budget

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

The Seattle Public Schools 2023-24 Adopted Budget is available for download.

A printed copy can be ordered from our publishing services site.
Black & White spiral bound $10.44 Full Color $42.73

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

A Citizen’s Guide to Washington State Finance was prepared by staff of the Senate Ways and Means Committee and the Senate Early Learning & K-12 Committee with the assistance of the Legislative Evaluation and Accountability Program (LEAP) Committee. .

For additional K-12 Financial Resources, click on the “Tools and References” tab on our Budget page.

What is the difference between the Seattle Schools’ Maintenance and Operations Levy and the City of Seattle’s Families and Education Levy?

Most of Seattle Public Schools’ levy supports critical basic education programs which are not fully funded by the state.  These include areas such as special education and bilingual education teachers and instructional aides, and the gap in salaries between what compensation costs and what the state pays.  A much smaller amount of levy is used for areas that would be considered enrichment, like security, transportation and student activities such as athletics, drama and music in schools.

The City’s levy is administered by the City’s Office for Education and provides various programs to families in the city such as Community & School based family support, preschool programs, school based health centers, grants to schools for academic innovation, and a school readiness program for families with children ages two and three not enrolled in a formal early learning program.

How much does an average Seattle teacher cost?

For the 2023-24 school year, a teacher in Seattle Public Schools costs approximately $150,546. This includes base salary, time responsibility incentive (TRI), contract days, tech days, medical, and other benefits.

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 introduction to the FY23-24 school allocations for developing 2023-24 school budgets, commonly referred to as the “Purple Book” internally. Open the Weighted Staffing Standards Model 2023-24

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 (WSS)?

Specific allocations for each school are online in WSS Allocations on the Budget Office website, under “Current Budget”. Open the 2023-24 WSS Allocations

There is also a “schools” section in the complete Seattle Public Schools 2021-22 Adopted Budget, located above or on the Budget Office website under “Current Budget” with additional 2023-24 information.

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 enables school leaders to focus on academic issues.

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