Spring is sniffing its way past the various freezes and snows. In Seattle Public Schools that means preparations for staffing and budget for next fall are underway. WA State’s failure to address school funding and the school levy cliff (see Seattle Public Schools budget update) is wreaking havoc on school districts throughout the state.
STEM K-8 will not experience losses as large as some other schools. We continue to grow with strong enrollment demand, which helps absorb the effect of funding reductions. At this point I see two clear impacts from 2017-18 STEM budget/staffing projections: 1) larger class sizes (26 students/class K-3rd grade, 28 students/class 4th-5th grade, 32 students/class middle school), and 2) the loss of anticipated staffing support previously allocated to K-8’s with 3 grades (another 1.0 fte office assistant, .5 fte additional certificated support). Some major challenges we are trying to address at this juncture include Middle School instrumental music instruction, planning support for Project Based Learning and pre K-8 expansion, and the final round of iPad purchases for the middle school 1:1 program. The 2017-18 staffing package included new allocations for two additional Access programs, two 8th grade classroom, and additional specialist time to meet PE requirements. As our planning for 2017-18 moves forward, we will partner with families and the STEM K-8 PTA to meet our community’s top priorities.