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May 31, 2024

Dear Shoreline School District Staff, Families, and Students,

The purpose of this message is to provide our community with an update on the ongoing work to achieve financial stability for the district as we near the end of the school year.

We’d like to thank our community for all that has been contributed to the cost-savings measures and reductions that we have implemented in recent years. Our ending fund balance (essentially, the district’s savings account) has been improving; however, it still is less than the School Board-directed requirement and less than is sustainable for responsible fiscal management of our district.

Review of 2022-2024 Financial Efforts:

  • Reduction of 33 non-classroom positions (including custodians, family advocates, library technicians, maintenance staff)
  • Reduction of 11 central office staff and administrators (over the last two years)
  • Furlough days and contract suspensions for administrators and other central office staff
  • Employee groups’ contract provision pauses or reductions. Thank you, Labor Partners!
  • Pause on instructional licenses and curriculum costs
  • Reduction to school budgets
  • Hold on curriculum adoptions and professional development
  • Reallocated some allowable technology costs to the Technology Levy
  • No vehicle replacement purchases

Additionally, school PTA/PTSAs, the Shoreline Public Schools Foundation, and other donors have funded many school projects and initiatives that support our students’ well-rounded school experience. Their generosity is seen, felt, and appreciated across our district!

Over the next several years, the district will need additional revenues to continue improving its financial situation (fund balance). Future revenue opportunities are:

  • Maximize the next local levy (two years of the current four-year levy remain)
  • The legislature might provide additional state revenues, but this is always an unknown until after the close of each legislative session

Due to the time it will take for revenues to improve, reductions will be considered as necessary in the coming years.

We expect more challenging, thoughtful, and creative efforts will continue to be necessary as the district and its bargaining groups work in partnership to maintain high-quality educational services while responsibly managing the district’s budget.

Current Shoreline School District Budget Status

2023-24 Update

Updated June 2024

Using actual financial figures through April 2024:

  • Revenue for 2023-24 is projected to end $4.4 million higher than budgeted, due to several reasons, including the following factors:

    • Increase in student actual average enrollment from September through May versus budget

    • Additional special education and multilingual learner (MLL) student enrollment

    • Transportation increase in student bus ridership

    • Anticipating an increase in special education Safety Net revenue

    • Funding of Ridgecrest schoolwide free breakfast and lunch program

    • Increase to state funding for the prototypical staffing model and materials, supplies, and operating costs

  • Expenditures 2023-24 are projected to end $3.5 million higher than budgeted due to several reasons, including the following factors:

    • Based on specific student special education needs, additional contractual services have been utilized

    • Employee salaries and benefits make up approximately 87% of the District’s budget. However, travel makes up 0.088% and capital purchases make up 0.061%

    • We projected to spend less on substitute costs. However, the actual cost is coming in higher than the projection and staff are accessing leave more frequently, increasing the number of substitute hours

  • 2023-24 unreserved fund balance is projected to end at $4.5 million, which is:

    • 2.6% of projected expenditures

    • $2.2 million higher than budgeted

    • still significantly below the 4.0% - 5% as specified by Board Policy 7130, which was waived for the 2023-24 fiscal year.

    • less than is sustainable for responsible fiscal management of our district

  • These major revenues and expenditures have to wait until later this year to be confirmed and updated:

    • Transportation Operations funding (end of May)

    • Safety Net award amount (late June)

    • Utilities expenditures (May)

2024-25 Outlook

Updated April 2024

Using actual financial figures through February 2024 and updated projections:

  • 2024-25 unreserved fund balance is projected to end at $4.4 million, which is:

    • 2.5% of projected expenditures

    • $739K higher than projected in the 2023-24 budget

    • still significantly below the 4.0% - 5% as specified by Board Policy 7130

  • Revenues are projected to end at $178 million

  • Expenditures are projected to end at $177 million

2025-26 General Fund Considerations

  • Enrollment projected to continue to decline 134 full-time students, compared to 2024-25

    • Grade K change (18)

    • Grades 1-5 change (72)

    • Grades 6-8 change +7

    • Grades 9-12 change (51)

  • Some contract pauses go through the end of 2024-25; hence, need to consider implications for 2025-26

  • Additional substitute cost: need to plan for a higher cost based on current (2023-24) expenditure level

  • Tech Levy: continued funding of 50% of technology staff and cost for student data processing software and services paid to Washington School Information Processing Cooperative (WSIPC) and Northwest Regional Data Center (NWRDC)

  • February 2026 election fees (levy) will be approximately $250,000

Quick Links

Why is there such a focus on General Fund balance, and unreserved fund balance in particular?

Part of the State accounting process each year is to project our beginning and ending fund balance, much like an individual might estimate their savings account goals. If the district spends less than our revenue in a given year, the remainder is fund balance.

The ending fund balance has two parts to it: reserved fund balance and unreserved fund balance:

  • The reserved fund balance exists for assets we have for a specific purpose. This includes carryover – or unspent funds – from programs with inflexible expenditures. It also includes things such as our inventory of food items that have not yet been made into a meal and served/sold to students.

  • The unreserved fund balance is liquid cash – available to use on any district expenditure and saved for other eventualities, such as lower enrollment than expected or an unexpected expense.

Board Policy 7130 states, in part: The budgeted unreserved fund balance is held to compensate for economic uncertainties and should be targeted at a range between 4.0% and 5.0% of budgeted General Fund expenditures.

Read all Budget FAQs

2023-24 School Board Meeting Budget Reports and Presentations

Budget Survey Reports

The 2023-24 District and Community Budget Survey sought feedback from members of our school district and community about priorities to help guide planning for reductions to balance our budget.

The survey results were presented at the March 7, 2023, School Board meeting, with the following documents:

Shoreline School Budget Survey Executive Summary

Budget Survey Report (presentation slides)

Watch the presentation from the March 7, 2023, School Board meeting

2022-23 End-of-Year Report

For the 2022-23 fiscal year, Unreserved Fund Balance for the General Fund ended better than expected, at 2.6% of budgeted expenditures, which is up from the estimate in the original budget of 1.4%. While this improvement helped the 2023-24 fiscal year outlook, it is still significantly below the 4.0% - 5% as specified by Board Policy 7130, which was waived for the 2023-24 fiscal year. Shoreline is on a multi-year journey to restore fund balance to fiscally healthy levels. 

Key areas for the improved financial position include:

  • Increased enrollment for Basic Education, Special Education, and Multilingual Learners

  • Increased federal Title II (Teacher & Principal Training and Recruiting) revenue collections

  • Special Education Safety Net revenues

  • Salaries finishing the year 0.4% below the July forecast due to reduced leave cash-outs for departing employees

  • Supplies and materials expenditure reduction

  • Special Education contract services coming in lower than estimates in July 2023

  • Utilities finishing the year below budget and below what was spent in the previous year

  • Expenditure reductions began during the 2022-23 fiscal year.

This improved fund balance allowed Shoreline to begin the 2023-24 year with a 2.3% unreserved fund balance, up from the 1.4% budgeted.