Capitol Hill Community Post | Seattle Public Schools 2017-18 Potential Budget Deficit

unnamed-1From Seattle Public Schools

Dear Seattle Public School Families:

I am writing to inform you of a significant budget shortfall we may face in the coming year unless the Legislature takes action to address school funding.

As the largest district in the state of Washington, we support close to 100 schools and over 53,000 students. Our students collectively speak 143 languages/dialects and represent 147 countries of origin. We are a thriving and diverse community of schools supported by incredible educators, support staff, committed school leaders and many more.

The Washington State Legislature’s failure to adequately address public education funding may result in a significant budget shortfall next school year. In 2017-18, the district’s ability to serve students in the way they deserve will be challenged. Unless the Legislature takes appropriate action to address school funding, the district has a projected deficit of approximately $74 million for the 2017-18 school year. This is the largest budget deficit we have faced since the late 1970s and has the potential to erode many of the programs, supports and services students are currently receiving.

This potential deficit is the result of two key failures by the Legislature.  First, the Legislature has restricted how much we can collect from our already approved local education levies.  Second, the Legislature has not fully funded education as they are constitutionally required to do.

The Legislature’s paramount duty in the state constitution is to fully fund public education. To date they have failed to carry out this duty. Districts, like Seattle, are forced to make up the financial difference by passing local levies and by asking our community and families to cover the cost of education services. The state only pays 70 cents for every dollar it costs to provide our students with the bare minimum of services.  Each school year, our Seattle community provides an additional $100 million to ensure our students have the resources and supplies they need, educators are compensated and that the district can provide basic supports including nurses, counselors, assistant principals, arts and music, and physical education. One example is that the state funding formula only pays for nine nurses in support of our 53,000+ students. Funding from other sources, including our local levies, supports the cost of 53 additional positions.

In 2012, the Washington State Supreme Court ruled that state government had failed its constitutional duty (McCleary v. State) and they ordered the state to come up with a plan and to fully fund education by next school year, 2017-18. The State Legislature has not fulfilled their constitutional duty and their inaction has created an unnecessary budget crisis. In addition, they have placed restrictions on our ability to use Seattle voter-approved levy dollars, increasing our deficit by $30 million. Because of the Legislature’s failure to fully respond to the Supreme Court’s mandate and also implementing restrictions on our use of local levy dollars, the district, in partnership with our stakeholders, must now figure out how to close the $74 million budget gap.

If the Legislature takes action, this deficit can be avoided or greatly reduced.  Because Legislative action is uncertain, we must plan for a worst-case scenario for our 2017-18 budget. Unless the Legislature takes immediate action to restore our ability to use all of our voter approved levy funds and funds adequate compensation for teachers, principals and support staff, we will need to make significant cuts and/or leave critical positions unfilled. This will impact the entire district including central office supports (maintenance, programs, and services), support for teaching and learning, educators, school leaders and support staff. Most significantly, it will impact our students – the children that we have all committed to serving.

Eliminating opportunity gaps and accelerating learning for each and every student is one of the primary lenses through which the central office and School Board will be evaluating budgetary decisions. Initial reduction recommendations have been made that lessen cuts to school services. These reductions, if approved, could bring the gap down to an estimated $44 million. The budget reductions beyond this point will be challenging for all of us. 85% of our budget is salaries and much of the remaining budget includes fixed costs like utilities and insurance. This $44 million represents over 440 positions within the district.

In December, the Seattle School Board will be reviewing additional areas of the budget to reduce, including non-staff and staff costs. The worst-case scenario budget will be complete on January 11. Budgets will be provided to schools in February to begin the school-based budgeting process.

Seattle Public Schools values our staff, our students and our families. We are committed to educational excellence for every student. Closing the $74 million gap will be the most difficult challenge we’ve faced in decades.

Right now there are many unknowns. These unknowns will cause challenges and disruptions to the good work that our schools, educators and central office staff are doing, and for that I am truly sorry. We will do our best to get through this together, and will be working closely with our labor leaders, the Seattle Council PTSA, the City of Seattle, and community partners to ensure our full community is kept up to date and have opportunities for input. My commitment to you is to communicate regularly on progress and provide information as it becomes available.

Next Steps: Between December 5, 2016 and January 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:

  • Tuesday, December 13, Ballard High School, 6:30 -8 p.m.

1418 NW 65th St Seattle, WA 98117

  • Thursday, December 15, South Shore PreK-8 School, 6:30-8 p.m.

3013 S Mt Baker Blvd Seattle, WA 98144

  • Tuesday, January 3, Franklin High School, 6:30-8 p.m.

4800 S Henderson St Seattle, WA 98118

Interpretation will be available. To request interpretation please contact 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, December 2.

If you have specific questions or concerns about the budget shortfall please email the Budget Office at

Thank you for the opportunity to support you, your family and student. It is a privilege to serve you.




Dr. Larry Nyland


‘Seattle Women March Against Hate’ Saturday across Capitol Hill

This sign from a November rally in Cal Anderson Park will fit right in this Saturday (Image: CHS)

This sign from a November rally in Cal Anderson Park will fit right in this Saturday (Image: CHS)

seattlewomensmarchmap2-1In the wake of the 2016 presidential election, it’s a little more difficult to trust the numbers. Still, thousands of people say they plan to attend a rally and march Saturday from Volunteer Park to Cal Anderson.

The Seattle Women March Against Hate appears to have struck a nerve.

Organizers Demi Wetzel told CHS the event was created with little more than an idea of standing up against a tide of ugliness following the declaration of victory by Donald Trump.

“Though I originally started the FB event page on a whim, the community has since stepped up and helped organize right alongside myself,” Wetzel said. “My inbox is currently flooded with people offering their help and guidance.”

“We must stand together to show the world that misogyny, misogynoir, racism, xenophobia, transmisogyny, transphobia, and hate of any kind is not welcome in this city,” organizers write. “Together we can show the world that women will not be bullied by anyone—not even the next president.”

If that’s not enough love for you, there is also something called the Capitol Hill Happiness Sprinkling taking place on Broadway around the same time.

The rally and march starts at 1:00 PM at the Volunteer Park amphitheater stage. Dress warmly — it’s expected to be a chilly weekend.

Seattle Women March Against Hate

Capitol Hill Community Post | The Northwest School Girls’ XC Team Named Best in Nation

2016-grils-xc-teamFrom The Northwest School

The Northwest School Girls’ Cross Country Team has been selected as the best Division II high school team in the nation by the National High School Coaches Association. The award follows the team’s winning performance at the Washington State Cross Country Championships on November 5, 2016.

“The Northwest girls’ team performance averaging 19:44 for the difficult Sun Willows 5000-meter course ranks as one of the great small school team efforts of all time,” says Aron Taylor, founder of, which serves as the historical archives for the sport of cross country and issues the annual awards on behalf of the coach’s association. “Northwest’s stellar performance is worthy of National Championship recognition.”

Also honored individually by the national coach’s association are 11th grader Isa Meyers and 10th grader Macenna Hansen, who are ranked No. 5 and No. 6 respectively.

Division II is comprised of high schools with a total enrollment less than 600 students. These schools represent over 80% of all high schools in America. According to Taylor, this means “Division II programs set the bar for the sport of cross country across the nation.”

The Northwest School has a reputation as a perennial powerhouse in the sport of cross country for both girls and boys. The girls’ cross country team has captured the 1A girls’ team title at the Washington State Cross Country Championships two years in a row (and have qualified for states for the last six years). On the boy’s side, Northwest senior Tibebu Proctor this year successfully defended his title as reigning boy’s state cross country champion. The boy’s team has qualified for states the last four years in a row, and Northwest School Coach Joe Bisignano was named State XC Coach of the Year in 2012.

Where to get your Capitol Hill Christmas tree — plus 2016 holiday highlights

Capitol Hill’s holiday trees come in many shapes and sizes — from efficiency dwelling unit shrubs to Millionaire’s Row 14-footers. Here are a few options for picking up your own Christmas tree or holiday greenery around the Hill.

We’ve also including a few Capitol Hill-adays highlights to help put you in the giving spirit.  Continue reading

Sunday, give 2016 Seattle Marathoners a boost as they pass through Interlaken Park

Around 10 AM Sunday, thousands of runners — and more than a few walkers — will be passing through Interlaken Park on their way to completing the 2016 Seattle Marathon.

The northern fringes of Capitol Hill will once again mark mile 22.5 of the race so it’s an important area for providing one final boost of cheering and enthusiasm.

The course nearly encircles Central Seattle with lots of street closures and detours. So, basically, the day for runners is also a good day for walking.

More information on the 2016 race is at


CHS Pics | This week in Capitol Hill pictures

Rush Hour:  Link Light Rail Capitol Hill Station, Seattle WA Image 1

The CHS Flickr Pool contains more than 33,000 photographs — most of Capitol Hill images, many glorious, some technically amazing. The pool is a mix of contributions from Capitol Hill — and nearby — shutterbugs. Interested in being part of it? If we like your photo and it helps us tell the story, we may feature it on CHS so please include your name and/or a link to your website so we can properly credit you. Interested in working as a paid CHS contributor for scheduled assignments? Drop us a line –- our roster is full for general assignments but pitch us on an idea.

Continue reading

In quest for diversity, Seattle now has a Community Involvement Commission

By Prince Wang, UW News Lab / Special to CHS

The Seattle City Council this week finalized its cut of connection with district councils and the City Neighborhood Council. The approved ordinance severs ties with a longstanding system of neighborhood governance with proponents saying the move will further the city’s goals of increasing participation of underrepresented groups with local government through a Community Involvement Commission.

“I think the core motivation is to create broader involvement and more inclusiveness in people talking with and dialoguing with city government,” said the City Council’s Tim Burgess, a sponsor of the ordinance.

Seattle is currently divided into 13 districts, each with its own district council made up of local members in the community that discuss problems and areas of concern in their community and also lead the way on vetting certain proposals and grant applications. The City Neighborhood Council is composed of elected officials from every district council. Continue reading

What’s on the menu at six Capitol Hill Thanksgiving feasts

The Urban Turkey

Enjoy your holiday with the people you love the most: your friends and the friendly food+drink folks around Capitol Hill. Here is what is on the menu at these six Capitol Hill and nearby Thanksgiving feasts this year. As of Monday afternoon, each still had a seat open for you and yours.

This week in CHS history | #snomg Thanksgiving 2010, 15/Union axe murder, Broadway/Pike shooting

This week in 2010, a terrible murder at 15th and  Union

This week in 2010, a terrible murder at 15th and Union

Here are the top stories from this week in CHS history:



Five injured in shooting at Broadway and Pike

Federal agents, SPD arrest 9 in CD drug and firearm investigation

Continue reading

Capitol Hill Community Post | Special Alert: Upcoming Protests in Capitol Hill

From the Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce

The Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce has learned of two planned protests this weekend.  While we hope that these protests will remain peaceful, organizers of the Saturday night protest have indicated a more aggressive tone and we want you to be prepared.  Here is what we know:

Saturday November 19th, “No Trump, No Cops, No KKK” at 10 p.m at Cal Anderson Park.  We do not know how many to expect, but given the title of the gathering, there is a possibility that participants will march around, possibly to downtown. Continue reading

Capitol Hill Community Post | Denny Way Closure from Stewart St to Fairview Ave Nov 18-21 for Seattle City Light Denny Substation Project

giphyFrom SDOT

SDOT advises travelers that Denny Way will be fully closed between Stewart St and Fairview Ave this weekend November 18 – 21 as part of the Seattle City Light (SCL) Denny Substation Project. During this closure, travelers should expect significant delays and are encouraged to use alternate routes.

From 11 p.m. on Friday, November 18, to 5 a.m. on Monday, November 21, travelers can expect the following:

  • Crews will close both directions of Denny Way between Stewart St and Fairview Ave to restore the roadway to its normal configuration.
  • When Denny Way reopens on Monday morning, November 21, it will reopen with two lanes in each direction.
  • Crews working for SCL will be reconfiguring and restriping Denny Way adjacent to the substation site.

King County Metro Bus 8 will be directly impacted by the closure, as the westbound and eastbound Denny Way and Stewart Street bus stops will be temporarily closed. Visit Metro’s Service Advisories page to find out about any known revisions to your routes.

For more information on the Seattle City Light Denny Substation Project, please visit:

– See more at: