Seattle Public Schools



2023-24 Budget Frequently Asked Questions

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.

Additional K-12 Financial Resources

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.

Learn more about the district levies.

The City of Seattle’s Families and Education Levy is administered by the city’s Office for Education and provides various programs to families in the city such as community and 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.

Learn more about the City of Seattle levy.

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.

Washington school districts are funded by several sources which include local taxpayers, state funding, and federal funding.

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 enrolled students, number of students who qualify for free and reduced lunch, 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.

Open the 2023-24 General Fund graphic “Where Does our Money Come From?”

The Weighted Staffing Standards (WSS) model is on pages 7-19 of the 2023-24 school allocations report

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

Specific allocations for each school are available in the FY 2023-24 Schools’ Funding Allocations

Additionally, there is a schools section in the complete Seattle Public Schools 2023-24 Adopted Budget.

Yes. In February, schools receive their budget instructions and school allocations. 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.

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.

In April and May, schools and central office department budgets are finalized to prepare next year’s recommended budget to the Seattle School Board.

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
  • transportation services
  • grounds and maintenance workers