May 3 School Board Budget Presentation

Summary: On May 3, the district presented the first part of the Fiscal Stabilization Plan to the Seattle School Board.

Funding Our Future: Fiscal Stabilization Plan

Seattle Public Schools (SPS) is facing a significant projected budget deficit. On Wednesday, May 3, the Seattle School Board will the next budget work session.

May 3 Agenda (Materials updated 5/3/23)

The district will 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.

Meeting Overview Sent to Families and Staff May 4

Seattle Public Schools (SPS), like school districts across the state, is facing a structural budget deficit. The district has been working diligently to respond to this challenge to close the budget gap for the 2023-24 school year.

On May 10, the district will present the SPS Fiscal Stabilization Plan to the Seattle School Board. This message provides an overview of information presented in the May 3 board meeting.

SPS 2023-24 Budget Plan

  • Use the Economic Stabilization Fund (rainy-day fund) and one-time funds: $69 million
  • Reducing staffing costs central office and program reductions: $32 million
  • School-level funding reduction and improved efficiencies in school-based operations: $10 million

Rainy-day Fund and New Revenue – the Biggest Change

Like many organizations, SPS has a rainy-day fund it can use in emergencies. The account can be used to pay for certain school district activities if the SPS General Fund has a shortfall. This rainy-day fund account is called the Economic Stabilization Fund.

The Fiscal Stabilization Plan will draw $42 million from the rainy-day fund.

Replenishing the Rainy-day Fund: The district’s rainy-day fund must be at least 3-5% of the total General Fund for the most recently completed fiscal year. Because the 2023-24 budget plan will use the Economic Stabilization Fund, the 2023-24 plan includes a strategy to replenish rainy-day account.

New State Funds: SPS will see an additional $20 million in funds from the Washington state legislature, which includes an increase in funding for special education services. The state funding also includes support for construction projects at SPS schools that host Skills Center (career and technical education) programs across the district.

Transportation and Start Time Changes for Some Schools

Part of the Fiscal Stabilization Plan includes changes to transportation services that will cut costs and improve efficiency. These changes for transportation will save the district more than $6 million, without large-scale system changes for all schools in our district.

Twelve schools will change their start and end time for the new school year. The change will be in effect on the first day of school, Sept. 6. Families at the effected schools will receive a separate message on Friday, May 5. This message will include their school’s new start time.

School start and end times have a significant effect on district budgets. Currently, our two-tier bell schedule is out of balance. The change will enable SPS transportation to increase yellow bus service efficiency. Bus drivers who serve these schools will be able to drive two or more routes rather than being limited to one route.

The following schools will have a new start time for 2023-24. The length of the school day remains the same.

  • Bailey Gatzert, Dearborn Park, John Hay, Green Lake, South Shore PreK-8, View Ridge and West Woodland will move to the 8:55 a.m. start time.
  • Adams, Concord, Licton Springs K-8, Thurgood Marshall, and TOPS K-8 will move to the 7:55 a.m. start time.

SPS will also end supplemental shuttle service for five high schools and a temporary bus route that supported a school boundary change. Families with a student at the effected schools will receive a separate message on Friday, May 5.

Supplemental shuttles were created to provide extra services for neighborhoods that had limited Metro bus services. Beginning September 2023, Ballard, Cleveland STEM, Ingraham, Lincoln, and Chief Sealth International will no longer have supplemental shuttle services. This change does not affect students who receive transportation services as part of the special education services as identified in their IEP.

A temporary bus route was added in 2021-22 school to support the Kimball Elementary school boundary change. The district will not renew this temporary bus service.

Reduction in Employee and School-level Costs

Most staff reductions are in the central office, which will have approximately 70 positions affected. Additionally, the district is considering additional reductions in the non-represented staffing costs.

Although there will be shifts in school staff placement, SPS is confident the majority of certificated and classified (teachers, school office staff, etc.) will find positions in other SPS schools.

Budget Development Information and Next Steps

You can read more about the draft budget and the Fiscal Stabilization Plan in the May 3 Board presentation materials.

On May 10, the Seattle School Board will view the second half of the Fiscal Stabilization Plan presentation. The Board will take a vote on the plan. The meeting will be livestreamed for the public to view. After the meeting, we will send another update to our community.

You can find resources and updates on the Funding Our Future webpage www.seattleschools.org/budget

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