Dori: Seattle Schools have no way to pay for new post-strike teacher contract

Sep 23, 2022, 1:59 PM | Updated: 5:55 pm


Striking teachers with Seattle Public Schools (Photo from Sam Campbell)

(Photo from Sam Campbell)

Barely a week since Seattle Public Schools educators ended their week-long strike, it appears there is no money in the current budget to cover the new agreement.

The new three-year contract will tack an additional $228 million to the school district’s current $1.14 billion operating budget – without any certain way to cover these costs, Washington Policy Center’s education director Liv Finne told The Dori Monson Show on Friday.

“This is money they do not have,” Finne said. She detailed her findings in a report published this week at

Seattle school leaders are “No longer stewarding and protecting the public’s purse,” Finne told Dori’s listeners. “We pay these administrators … to live within their means, but they have given up on that.”

“They know that in four months, there will be a new session of the state Legislature and they’ll run down to Olympia and claim they don’t have enough money even though they have had a huge increase in funding,” Finne continued.

“They have done this in the past successfully,” Finne said.

Figures show Seattle was spending about $14,000 per student in 2016. Now, with the new contract, Finne said, that is up to $22,000 per student in six years.

And yet, she added, only 47% of the nearly 7,000 employees on SPS’ payroll are classroom teachers. That, Finne believes, is evidence that “Seattle Public Schools’ administration is bloated and top-heavy.”

Even worse, she adds, is that it comes at a time when “state test scores are plummeting.”

“It’s corrupt. They’re going after the taxpayer while the taxpayer gets left holding the bag.”

Listen to Dori’s entire interview with Washington Policy Center’s Liv Finne about Seattle Schools’ inability to cover costs of new teachers’ contract

Listen to the Dori Monson Show weekday afternoons from noon – 3 p.m. on KIRO Newsradio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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