Next StepsBetween Dec. 5, 2016 and Jan. 4, 2017 we will continue to solicit feedback on budget priorities from staff, families, and community partners. I would like to thank the Seattle Council PTSA for hosting three regional meetings for families to provide feedback on budget priorities.
Community Budget Gap Meetings
Tues., Dec. 13, 6:30 - 8 p.m. Ballard High School
1418 NW 65th St.
Thurs., Dec. 15, 6:30 - 8 p.m. South Shore PreK-8 School
4800 S Henderson St.
Tues., Jan. 3, 6:30 - 8 p.m. Franklin High School
3013 S Mt Baker Blvd.
Interpretation will be available. To request interpretation please contact email@example.com with your requested needs.
Additional details regarding the budget deficit, budget development timeline, and actions you can take will be posted to the 2017-18 budget webpage by tomorrow, Dec. 2.
If you have specific questions or concerns about the budget shortfall please email the Budget Office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Update 2: at the end of this thread is the district's press release about this issue. It has no new information.
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Update 1: the Times now has a story on this issue and the district is talking about lay-offs. A message went out to teachers on Wednesday from Superintendent Nyland.
....Nyland said the problem is based primarily on a $23M increase in labor costs and the fact that the district could lose about $31M under the so-called "levy cliff.Information is to be sent to families today, according to the Times. As well, from the Superintendent's letter to teachers:
The budget gap is the largest the district has faced since the 1970s, Nyland wrote in his message.
Additional details regarding budget development and actions you can take will be posted to the 2017-18 budget webpage by the end of the week.But here's what legislative wonk (and all-around smart guy) Robert Cruickshank says in the comments to my story:
It is important to keep in mind this is a fake budget gap. SPS does not have to cut a dime. The legislature cannot push districts over the levy cliff - doing so would be unconstitutional and the state Supreme Court would reject it. The legislature also promised in the 2016 budget to either provide new money to replace the lost levy authority OR extend levy authority for another year. That's a promise and not a law but it suggests that SPS will not actually have to cut anything.end of update
So what should SPS do? Nothing.
SPS staff should NOT be planning for cuts. They should NOT be asking parents to fight amongst each other to decide which programs and teachers stay or go. They should NOT be preparing layoff notices.
Why? Doesn't SPS have to plan in case they lose state money?
No, because again, it's not actually possible for the district to lose that money. Whether through legislative action or court action, SPS will get the money they need.
We must insist that SPS - staff and board - refuse to undertake a divisive, unnecessary, and unconstitutional exercise of planning for a budget cut that is legally and juridically impossible to actually happen.
Here's some information on what the levy cliff is and what you can do to try to head it off before our district falls off that cliff.
I do note that I'm not sure how much of the $71-74M deficit projected by staff is due to the levy cliff. All? Part? If so, how much? I'll have to ask.
From John Freeman at the Washington's Paramount Duty Facebook page (editor's note - I rearranged some of the information):