Annual Adjustments to School Staffing

Summary: Every year, Seattle Public Schools adjusts staff assignments based on the number of students enrolled in schools.

Annual Adjustments to School Staffing What to Expect 

Every year, Seattle Public Schools adjusts staff assignments based on the number of students enrolled in schools. This process affects multiple schools every year.   

Funding for school staff is based on student enrollment. This staffing adjustment is a task that all Washington school districts must complete to be sure the number of educators matches the number of students in each school. 

We understand moving educators is challenging for students, families, and staff. Each staffing adjustment decision is made thoughtfully to minimize disruption. 

What to Expect 

  • We shared the adjusted staffing allocations with school leaders on Oct. 4, and they are in the process of informing staff and their community.   
  • No teacher will lose their position with the district due to staffing adjustments. Some of our schools are still hiring for teaching positions, and some of these may be filled by teachers affected by the staff adjustments. 
  • For some schools, they may receive an increase in staff to accommodate additional students.  
  • For other schools, staff may be moved to another building because their final enrollment was lower than predicted.   
  • The school principal may need to adjust the school schedule and class lists to accommodate the final student enrollment. 

How Enrollments are Projected  

Twice a year, we project student enrollment figures for the coming school year. These figures are important because they help us anticipate state funding and allow us to hire staff for each school.  

The enrollment adjustment is a process all districts statewide use to match the number of teachers with the actual student enrollment at each school.   

To stabilize staffing and classrooms as soon as possible, we use the headcount from the sixth day of school as the official enrollment. As of Sept. 22, this year’s count is approximately 300 more students than projected, however our overall enrollment continues to decline.  

Our projections consider many variables that influence SPS student enrollment. The district offers school choice, meaning students may choose another school rather than their attendance-area school. Students who leave the district are not required to notify us. Some students register after the school year begins. 

Enrollment is affected by different factors for each community. The team considers:  

  • population   
  • registration   
  • birth rates   
  • economic trends   
  • housing   
  • neighboring district trends, and more 

Why Enrollment Figures Matter  

Funding for staff is based on student enrollment.  

If more students than planned enroll in a school or district, the state provides funding for more staff. If fewer students enroll, the district receives less money.  

If fewer students enroll in a specific school, staffing adjustments must be made to support increased enrollment somewhere else in the district.  

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