(The Center Square) – Seattle Public Schools spent $67.5 million more in expenditures than it received in revenue streams through February 2023, as school officials address a steep budget deficit.
The $67.5 million has been considered as part of the $131 million budget deficit that district officials are addressing in its next budget, according to Seattle Public Schools Media Relations Lead Tim Robinson.
Some of the biggest expenditures the district has made so far in its fiscal year include regular education, special education and support services.
The district spent $251.4 million from the beginning of the fiscal year on Sept. 1 through the end of last February towards regular education. That is nearly half of what Seattle Public Schools budgeted for the 2023-24 school year, which was $510.7 million.
Special education throughout the district has received $101.6 million through February.
The third highest expenditure was support services at $98.4 million. According to Robinson, support services are non-instructional programs. This includes school counselors, janitors and other staff members who are not teachers.
Seattle Public Schools’ $67.5 million in overspending is a result of a steady drop in enrollment throughout the district. Enrollment has dropped from 52,730 in the 2019-2020 school year to 49,387 in the current school year, according to statistics from the district.
Meanwhile, staffing within Seattle Public Schools has trended upwards from 5,609 staff members in 2014 to 7,273 last school year.
The Center Square previously reported on Seattle Public Schools announcing it would not be consolidating schools next school year after further considerations. Instead, the district’s central office is expected to see budget cuts of $33 million for the next academic year.
The timeline for next school year’s budget is underway, with final adoption scheduled sometime in July. The proposed budget plan calls for reducing central staff positions by nearly 11%, according to Interim Deputy Superintendent Fred Podesta. He added that the school system has found ways to minimize staff impacts by considering a hiring freeze and shifting payroll costs to different funding sources when it is deemed appropriate.
Seattle Public Schools officials previously said that if there is a reduction in educators, it would be limited.