SPS: Budget shortfall causes hiring, spending freeze

SEATTLE - An $18 million budget shortfall is is the reason behind a hiring and spending freeze that will take effect next year, according to Seattle district officials.

The district says the shortfall combined with the uncertainty of future state funding has forced officials to find other ways to balance the budget next year.

In a release sent out Thursday afternoon, Seattle Public Schools announced it will suspend all non-critical hiring and expenditures until further notice.

The district says the freeze will help save $2.5 million which can be included toward next year's general operating budget.

"We know these measures impact our employees, and we appreciate everyone's understanding of the need to take this action," said Duggan Harman, Assistant Superintendent of Business & Finance, in the statement. "We are hopeful that the legislature follows the recent Supreme Court order and funds the K-12 increases it has previously committed to. If this happens, the path to a balanced budget becomes clearer."

Any position that is critical to student safety and education will not be included in the hiring freeze.

The School Board will approve next year's operating budget in July.