Seattle Public Schools

2024-25 Budget Development

Summary: Read Dr. Jones introduction to the 2024-25 Budget Book and view highlights for next school year's budget.

The Seattle School Board held a public hearing on the 2024-25 Recommended Budget on June 26, 2024. View the full agenda for the June 26 meeting. The School Board voted to approve the 2024-25 Budget during the July 2, 2024 board meeting.

Superintendent Budget Book Introduction

Dr. Jones’ introduction letter for the 2024-25 Recommended Budget Book

Dear Seattle Public Schools Community,

Thank you for your support of Seattle Public Schools and for your dedication to helping us carry our commitment to eliminating opportunity gaps to ensure access and provide excellence in education for every student. It is truly an honor and a privilege to serve as your superintendent.

The last few years have presented Seattle Public Schools and many other school districts across the country with unprecedented challenges related to the pandemic, enrollment losses, and continued underfunding. All of these together have resulted in a significant structural deficit that we have been working hard to resolve.

The district has made significant reductions in our budget to move towards a position of long-term financial sustainability. This has been accomplished with targeted reductions in areas furthest away from students and through a series of one-time internal borrowing strategies. Conservative fiscal practices and on-going reductions of $61.8 million in FY 2023-24 and $29 million proposed for FY 2024-25 have helped reduce the projected on-going deficit for 2025-26 to approximately $94 million (from $131 million in 2023-24).

In this document, we are presenting a balanced budget for FY 2024-25. However, we are now out of significant one-time options and will need to make more systemic changes to stabilize the system going forward. Stabilizing our budget will allow us to provide a more consistent and predictable experience for our students and families. Additionally, establishing a stable foundation will allow us to make future strategic investments until all schools are well-resourced and able to effectively meet the needs of all students.

We currently serve 23,000 K-5 students at more than 70 sites across the district, with an average enrollment of 317 students per site. Twenty-nine of our schools have fewer than 300 students. Given that the State funding model is based on the cost to run a 400-student elementary school, elementary schools this small are simply not sustainable and dilute resources throughout the system.

Many have asked if we could just increase enrollment or sell some of our properties to solve our financial problems. While we are looking at options to increase enrollment, increasing enrollment alone will not solve the on-going structural deficit issues. The sale or lease of properties are also being explored, but those proceeds would only benefit the capital program and cannot fund district operations.

The district can go in one of two directions – we can make further cuts to services, staff, and supports in all schools, or we can maintain and plan to enhance student services and supports with a reduction in the number of elementary schools to match elementary school enrollment. We must consider which is the greater priority – the location of the school building or the services and educational opportunities available to students when they are at school.

Whether Seattle Public Schools will need to make additional reductions on top of school consolidations and a change in bell times will depend in large part on the outcome of the 2025 Legislative session. We are working with our legislative representatives to communicate our needs in Olympia and appreciate their support.

Thank you for your dedication to Seattle Public Schools and to our kids. In the coming months, we will continue to engage with our communities around well-resourced schools and our strategic planning efforts. I encourage robust participation in these engagements as we work together to provide excellence in learning for the students of Seattle Public Schools.

Sincerely,
Dr. Brent Jones
Superintendent

The 2024-25 Budget was adopted during the School Board meeting on July 2, 2024.

2024-25 Adopted Budget

Budget Highlights

  • Seattle Public Schools’ adopted General Fund Operating Budget for 2024-25 is $1.25 billion.
  • On-going reductions of more than $90 million over last two years.
  • 2024-25 Budget changes:
    • Central Office staffing and expense reductions
    • School staffing allocation reductions
    • Non-represented staff compensation reductions
    • Other one-time solutions
    • Convenience fees and voluntary athletic fees implementation
  • A short-term interfund loan of $27.5 million was utilized to balance the budget for 2024-25 which requires repayment by June 30, 2026.
  • Maintains Strategic Plan investments of $8.3 million.
  • Keeps all schools open for the 2024-25 school year.

Balanced Budget

This budget was developed over the course of ten public work sessions/meetings with the Board.

Read the 2024-25 Adopted Budget

2024-25 Budget Summary

Enrollment

Seattle Public Schools enrollment for 2024-25 is projected at 47,656 (annual average full-time equivalent). For the 2024-25 school year, Seattle Public Schools’ per-pupil expenditures are projected to be $26,292.

Strategic Plan Investments

Seattle Public Schools is guided by its five-year Strategic Plan “Seattle Excellence.” Strategic Plan Investments of $8.3 million focus on the strategic plan goals for third grade reading, seventh grade math, and College and Career Readiness for students of color who are furthest from educational justice.

No School Closures for 2024-25

This budget keeps all schools open for the 2024-25 school year. The District chose to delay consideration of school closures by one year to ensure a thoughtful and community-inclusive process.

Budget Changes

  • Central Office staffing and expenses reductions
  • School staffing allocations reductions
  • Non-represented staff compensation reductions
  • Other one-time solutions
  • Convenience fees and voluntary athletic fees implementation

Capital Budget

  • Five new school buildings opened in 2023: Kimball Elementary, Viewlands Elementary, Van Asselt Interim Site, West Seattle Elementary, and James Baldwin Elementary.
  • Five school buildings are scheduled to open Fall 2025: Asa Mercer Middle School, John Muir Elementary, John Rogers Elementary, Montlake Elementary, and Rainer Beach High School.
  • Twenty new elementary playgrounds are under construction.

Budget Presentation During June 26 School Board Meeting

Looking Ahead

The district projects an on-going resource gap into the future and is working to stabilize the system through system changes and increases in resources.

Some areas of focus for the coming years are:

  • Well-Resourced Schools transition
  • Improved funding for Special Education
  • Improved funding and implementation of efficiencies in transportation & other support activities
  • Labor contracts negotiations with union partners
  • Additional reductions and efficiencies

Budget Development Documents

2024-25 Recommended Budget

2024-25 School Allocations (“Purple Book”)

School Budget Development Instructions 2024-25 (“Gold Book”)

Weighted Staffing Standards (WSS) Allocation Model

The Weighted Staffing Standards (WSS) model is on pages 2-13 of the Schools’ Funding Allocation 2024-25 report (aka “Purple Book”). A work group made up of staff meet regularly to review the model and make recommendations on any adjustments.

Share Budget Questions for the FAQ

Submit your SPS budget question


Development Timeline for 2024-25 Budget

Topic: Foundation for Process
Feedback: Timeline, Goals, and Principles

September 20, 2023

Topic: Foundation for Process
Feedback: Timeline, Goals, and Principles

Topic: Budget Strategies Preview and Community Engagement Update
Feedback: Board Feedback on General Strategies

October 17, 2023

Topic: Budget Strategies Preview and Community Engagement Update
Feedback: Board Feedback on General Strategies

Topic: Superintendent’s Recommended Strategies Introduce Resolution on Budget
Read the recap of Nov. 15 Well-Resourced Schools and Budget Presentation.

November 15, 2023

Topic: Superintendent’s Recommended Strategies Introduce Resolution on Budget
Read the recap of Nov. 15 Well-Resourced Schools and Budget Presentation.

Action on Resolution on Budget

December 13, 2023

Action on Resolution on Budget

Topic: Update on Budget Development Process

January 17, 2024

Topic: Update on Budget Development Process

Topic: Legislative Update (session ends March 7)
Feedback: Update to Board Direction

March 20, 2024

Topic: Legislative Update (session ends March 7)
Feedback: Update to Board Direction

Topic: Preview of Proposed 2024-25, 2025-26, and 2026-27 Budgets

April 3, 2024

Topic: Preview of Proposed 2024-25, 2025-26, and 2026-27 Budgets

Topic: Superintendent’s Recommendation for System of Well-Resourced Schools

May 8, 2024

Topic: Superintendent’s Recommendation for System of Well-Resourced Schools

Topic: Budget Recommendation and Public Hearing
Inform: Board Informed on Impact of 2024-25 Budget on 2025-26 and 2026-27

June 26, 2024

Topic: Budget Recommendation and Public Hearing
Inform: Board Informed on Impact of 2024-25 Budget on 2025-26 and 2026-27

Topic: Budget Vote by Board
Action: Board Votes on 2024-25 Budget and 4-Year Forecast

July 2, 2024

Topic: Budget Vote by Board
Action: Board Votes on 2024-25 Budget and 4-Year Forecast

Topic: Review/Assessment of 2024-25 Process
Feedback: Board Feedback on Process

August 28, 2024

Topic: Review/Assessment of 2024-25 Process
Feedback: Board Feedback on Process


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