North Thurston Public Schools Budget

  • Each year, NTPS leaders create a budget, which the School Board reviews and adopts in August. The budget includes all district costs, such as employee salaries and benefits, supplies, facilities, information technology, transportation, and more.

    View our 2023-24 school year budget (PDF) and 4-year forecast report (PDF).

    North Thurston Public Schools recently completed its annual audit with the Washington State Auditor’s Office (SAO). SAO reviewed the 2021-22 fiscal year, including accountability for public resources; financial statement for the district; and federal grant compliance. It was what is called a clean audit: SAO found no misstatements, no deficiencies in the design or operation of internal controls over financial reporting, and no instances of noncompliance. These results reflect our efficient and accountable use of public funding!

Budget Updates

  • April 2024 Update

    North Thurston Public Schools recently completed its annual accountability audit and financial and federal audit with the Washington State Auditor’s Office (SAO). SAO reviewed NTPS’s use of public resources for September 2021 through August 2023. It was what is called a clean audit: SAO found no misstatements, no deficiencies in the design or operation of internal controls over financial reporting, and no instances of noncompliance. These results reflect our efficient and accountable use of public funding!

    March 2024 Update

    The 2024 Legislature has completed its work. During a supplemental year, the Legislature slightly adjusts the 2023-25 state budget they passed last year.

    We are now reviewing the budget decisions the Legislature made and what they mean for us as we build our 2024-25 school year budget. The supplemental state budget made negligible increases by:

    • Adjusting the funded enrollment cap on special education from 15 to 16 percent. The cap is the limit of funding a district receives to provide special education programs and services. In NTPS, 16.8 percent of students are identified as needing special education services, so we continue to spend more than the state funds. We make up the difference of about $13.7 million through our local levy dollars.
    • Adjusting the state public school funding model to help districts fund paraeducators, (from 1 funded position to 1.082), office support, and noninstructional aides. It is important to note that NTPS staffing levels for paraeducators far exceeds the state funding (approximately 13 for a 500+ elementary school)
    • Enhancing by $21 the per-pupil allocation for maintenance, supplies, and operating costs (MSOC) to address growing costs. This small increase doesn’t come close to covering the increased insurance costs which rose by 30%.

    While these minor increases are helpful, there is a significant gap between what the state pays for basic education and our district costs for delivering the services our students need:

    • Special education costs continue to rise, as do costs for materials and supplies and insurance.
    • Our district has lost regionalization funding. The state provides a base state salary allocation for K-12 staff through apportionment. Regionalization funding is funding in addition to the state salary allocation to account for the increased cost of living in different parts of the state. We were at 3% regionalization factor, and it dropped to 1.5% for the 2023-24 school year. This is a loss of $4 million over the last two years. For school year 2024-25, we will receive no regionalization funding from the state.
    • We are no longer receiving local effort assistance (LEA), which is state matching money paid on levies in districts with high tax rates due to low assessed values. Over the last five years, our LEA funds have been reduced. We are not receiving LEA in school year 2023-24 and are not expecting to in 2024-25. The district collections from the previous three fiscal years were:
      • 2022-23 $184,795 (LEA stabilization)
      • 2021-22 $565,699
      • 2020-21 $1,981,915

    It will be challenging to maintain our existing staffing and high-quality programs and services with such small additional state dollars. We also continuously seek grants and other funding sources.

    As we do each year, we follow our guiding principles when building the budget:

    • Meet our contractual agreements
    • Staffing levels aligned with enrollment at each school or special program
    • Reduce staffing levels through attrition
    • Fill necessary positions from within existing district staff
    • Least impactful to student learning environment
    • Least impactful to our short- and long-term strategic plan goals
    • Strive for equitable reductions across employee groups
    • No reduction in force  
    • Continue to strive for efficiencies across all areas of operations
    • Improve efficiencies in delivering special education services (which are significantly underfunded by the state)

    February 2024 Update

    NTPS has begun its work to prepare the 2024-25 budget. Leaders are closely watching the current legislative session, and we've started our enrollment projections for this coming school year (see the enrollment and financial update presentation from the January 23, 2024, School Board meeting).

    August 2023 Update

    The NTPS School Board approved the 2023-24 school year budget at the August 15, 2023, meeting. The NTPS team has managed costs in a variety of ways this past school year. If the district had not acted to reduce supplies spending, limit staff travel, hold some positions vacant, and reassign others, we would have faced an estimated $13 million budget shortfall going into the 2023-24 school year.

    As a result of managing costs, we can present a balanced budget proposal to the School Board as required by law.

    Budget-related decisions have affected every school and department in the district. For example, we have:

    • Reassigned some paraprofessionals and specialists to align with school enrollments while still meeting contractual agreements.   
    • Reassigned some instructional specialists to school-based roles.  
    • Held vacant and eliminated positions at the District Office.   
    • Limited staff travel throughout the year.  
    • Sought grant funding to maintain programs, such as our recently awarded Stronger Connections grant to support mental health staffing.
    • Refreshed Chromebooks for 1st through 5th graders to eliminate the need for an extra set of devices in specialist classrooms.
    • Purchased new copiers and printing software that will improve efficiency and save 20% each year on district printing costs.

    In preparing the budget, we have been able to adhere to our guiding principles:

    • Meet our contractual agreements
    • Staffing levels aligned with enrollment at each school or special program
    • Reduce staffing levels through attrition
    • Fill necessary positions from within existing district staff
    • Least impactful to student learning environment
    • Least impactful to our short- and long-term strategic plan goals
    • Strive for equitable reductions across employee groups
    • No reduction in force
    • Continue to strive for efficiencies across all areas of operations
    • Improve efficiencies in delivering special education services

    Looking ahead, we anticipate continued budget constraints moving beyond this year into the 2024-25 school year for several reasons:

    • The end of federal COVID-19 relief funding (ESSER). These temporary funds helped us balance our budget, but they must be spent by September 2024 and will not be replenished.
    • Special education services are significantly underfunded by the state. We must improve efficiency in service delivery. Our local levy picks up about $10 million of special education costs. For the 2023-24 school year, our costs are increasing by about $1.4 million, and our state funding is increasing by $2 million. Even with the increase, there is still significant underfunding.
    • Loss of regionalization funding. The state reimburses districts for the average cost of an educator. Regionalization funding is funding in addition to that average cost to account for the cost of living in different parts of the state. We are currently at 3% additional funding and will drop to 1.5% for the 2023-24 school year, with no additional funding for school year 2024-25. This is a loss of $4 million.

Budget Process Timeline

  • January / February

    • Enrollment Projections - how many students are enrolled at NTPS?
    • The legislative session begins - we watch this closely as they make decisions that affect our funding.

    March / April

    • Analyze Certified staffing with principals & directors - teacher staffing needs
    • Analyze Classified staffing with principals & directors - other staffing needs
    • Analyze Department budgets - initial projected budget amounts given to departments

    May / June

    • Once all departments and schools communicate staffing needs, we send this total personnel budget to Human Resources.
    • All departments and schools send us their final budgets based upon amounts given in March/April.
    • Finalize the fee schedule (lunches and other fees) and send the schedule to the Board.

    July / August

    • Budgets from all departments and schools, including staffing, are compiled and sent as a draft to the Board.
    • The Board reviews the draft, and a presentation of the draft budget is held in July.
    • In August, the Board holds a public hearing and adopts the budget.

    September / December

    • Current year budget monitoring through monthly reporting to the Board of Directors.
    • Current year budget monitoring by principals and directors.

Budget FAQ

  • Q: How do the different budget funds work in NTPS?

NTPS investments of federal relief funds

  • What are ESSER funds?

  • How much has NTPS received so far?

  • ARP-ESSER Spending Plans