The State has given school districts all across Washington a double whammy this year. They have failed to fully fund basic education as originally promised by the start of 2018 (i.e. the 2017-18 school year) AND they have legislated that by the start of 2018 the amount that local districts can collect from local “operations” levies is to be reduced. As a result, the Seattle School District is facing an estimated $74 million shortfall for school year 2017-18.
The Seattle Public Schools shortfall is 10% of the budget and will impact the entire district including central office supports (maintenance, programs, and services), teaching and learning, educators, school leaders and support staff. The District anticipates being forced to layoff approximately 440 staff positions for next school year, and the process for those “Reductions in Force” will need to start in about March/April of 2017.
We need everyone talking about this, spreading the word, making calls and sending emails to your elected officials asking them to take steps to extend the “Levy Cliff” through the end of 2018 and commit to full funding of staff compensation for the 2017-2018 school year. It is imperative they fully fund public schools by March 2017 so Districts across the state won’t lay off teachers this spring.
Three action steps you can take immediately:
- Call Governor Inslee right now at (360) 902-4111and ask him to fully fund public schools so they don’t lay off teachers this spring.
- Email the Governor by clicking here: https://fortress.wa.gov/es/governor/
- Email or call your legislators. Look up you legislators by clicking here: http://app.leg.wa.gov/DistrictFinder/, and find your legislators contact information by clicking here: http://app.leg.wa.gov/Rosters/Members/Senate
Key talking points for every call and email:
- Act by March 2017 to extend the “Levy Cliff” through the end of 2018
- Commit to full funding of staff compensation for the 2017-18 school year
- Fully fund public schools so they don’t lay off teachers and cut programs this spring
Resources with additional information about the budget crisis:
- SPS District Budget Deficit webpage: http://www.seattleschools.org/cms/One.aspx?portalId=627&pageId=16682292
- Washington Paramount Duty: http://paramountduty.org/
- 2017 Levy Cliff Impact analysis: http://www.k12.wa.us/SAFS/default.asp
- Washington State Board of Education: http://www.sbe.wa.gov/legislative.php#.WEiGh4WcGM8
- Learn more about PTA advocacy at: http://scptsa.org/advocacy/
Community Budget Gap Meetings with SPS & Seattle Council PTSA:
$74 million shortfall for 2017-18 school year
Between Dec. 5, 2016 and Jan. 4, 2017 the District will continue to solicit feedback on budget priorities from staff, families, and community partners. The Seattle Council PTSA is hosting three regional meetings for families to provide feedback on budget priorities.
The SCPTSA is hosting community budget gap meetings where Seattle Schools staff will explain the budget numbers, and PTA members and the community can collaborate on actions we can take together to motivate the Legislature to act. The meetings are:
- Tuesday, Dec. 13, Ballard High School, 6:30 – 8 PM
- Thursday, Dec. 15, South Shore PreK-8 School, 6:30 – 8 PM
- Tuesday, Jan. 3, Franklin High School, 6:30 – 8 PM
You can find more information about the budget shortfall from Seattle Public schools at: https://www.seattleschools.org/cms/One.aspx?portalId=627&pageId=16682292#action