Funding Our Future
Budget Development and Balancing Process
Seattle Public Schools (SPS) is facing a significant projected budget deficit for the next school year.
About the Budget Deficit
Responding to this budget deficit will be challenging. A guiding principle in our response is to prioritize quality instruction and learning. SPS will continue to use the SPS Racial Equity Tool for school-level budget decisions.
This deficit is the result of several factors:
- District decisions regarding programming and operations in support of our students;
- Declining student enrollment while maintaining staffing levels;
- Increased student and staff needs as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic;
- Persistent gaps in state basic education funding
The Seattle School Board will receive updates through work session meetings this spring. The board is required to pass a balanced budget and scheduled to vote on the 2023-24 budget on Thursday, July 6, 2023.
School Board Resolution Fiscal Stabilization Plan
The School Board Resolution No. 2022/23-14 directs the superintendent to present a portfolio of proposed actions to balance the 2023-24 operating budget. This portfolio of proposed actions, called the Fiscal Stabilization Plan, will include reductions to district operations and educational programs.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Structural deficit has grown to $131 million
- Fiscal Year 2022-23 current SPS budget is based on $82 million of one-time funding
- Recent prior year solutions have been one-time state and federal resources – ESSER, funding of enrollment loss, funding of transportation without riders
- Enrollment has decreased since fiscal year 2013-14 while staff has increased
- Enrollment is anticipated to continue to trend down
What funding sources do schools have?
Washington school districts are funded by several sources which include local taxpayers, state funding, and federal funding.
Persistent gaps remain in state basic education funding:
- The state educational funding formula does not fully fund many school staff including school leaders, nurses, and social workers.
- The state funds for special education services fall short of what our students need.
- The district receives little support for basic functions such as safety and security, facilities and building maintenance, staff and student technology, and more.
- SPS depends on local levy funding to pay for these supports.
- Without an increase of revenue for public education services, district support will continue to be reduced.
What are Some of the SPS Budget Planning Strategies?
Budget Development Calendar
Oct. 12, 2022 School Board Budget Work Session
Nov. 16, 2022 School Board Budget Work Session
Jan. 9, 2023 Legislative session begins
Jan. 25, 2023 School Board Budget Work Session
Jan. 16 – Feb. 3 Central budgets technical process of staffing, line-item budgeting
Feb. 28, 2023 School Board Budget Work Session (rescheduled from Feb. 15 to Feb. 28)
Feb. 28, 2023 Budget allocations to schools
March 1 – 31 Schools build their budget and staffing
March 20, 2023 Budget Information Session
Watch the recording of the March 20 budget information session. SPS hosted a budget information session for families, staff, and community. The information session was hosted by SPS Finance and district leadership to share information about the 2023-24 school year. Future engagements will provide opportunity for additional community feedback for 2024-25 budget planning.
April 29, 2023 Regular legislative session ends. Read the SPS statement regarding the state legislature 2023 session.
May 1, 2023 Final general fund balancing
May 3, 2023 School Board Budget Work Session
May 10, 2023 School Board Budget Work Session
June 21, 2023 School Board Regular Meeting with Board Action Report and Budget Resolution
July 6, 2023 School Board Regular Meeting with action to adopt 2023-24 budget
Recent News and Announcements
SPS is committed to hearing your voice. The goal for the well-resourced schools conversations—as well as the survey—is to gather community input.