2020-21 Budget


School Board Approves 2020-21 Budget

The Olympia School Board has unanimously agreed to adopt a $250.4 million budget for the 2020-21 school year. 


The budget approved by the board on June 22 represents $159 for operating resources and $67 million for capital investments, including the $8.5 million technology levy approved by voters in 2018. Remaining resources are devoted to the Associated Student Body fund, Debt Services fund and Transportation Vehicle fund.

The operating budget reflects $4.3 million in budget reductions to address a projected deficit next year.



2020-21 OSD Budget Deficit



For the past three years, we have communicated how the 2017 McCleary state funding “fix” had a detrimental impact on the Olympia School District. That funding system is the root cause of the financial difficulties we have faced each year since then and face again next year. You may recall the key issues including; the elimination of the teacher experience factor which harms districts with more experienced staff, or the higher cost to the district for the new employee health system, or the dramatic reduction in local levy funding with no commensurate increase in state dollars through regionalization that districts to the north of us did receive. We try to compete with those districts to attract, recruit and retain the highest quality staff possible, but it is harder to do with such a significant resource disadvantage.


Sadly, and not surprisingly, as we built the 2020-21 budget, we again projected a sizable deficit.


Factors that contribute to OSD’s 2020-21 projected deficit


  • Increased employer costs for Health Care or the School Employees Benefits Board (SEBB).
  • Like most school districts, Olympia has had an increase in labor costs. However, Olympia did not receive any “Regionalization” -- an opaque and inequitable increase in funding apportionment by the state to selected districts.
  • The state reduced the funding that pays for the extra cost associated with the education and experience levels of teachers. Olympia has a highly educated and experienced staff.
  • The state continues to under-fund adequate staffing levels in several specialized services such as nursing, counseling, and special education, and thus these staff are funded by our local levy.
  • We used $500,000 of the 2018-19 ending fund balance (savings account) to prevent other reductions during the 2019-20 school year. At this time, the 2019-20 projected fund balance is helpful but minimal.
  • Even with the new state funding in programs like Special Education, we continue to fund our Special Education budget over the amount allocated by the state and federal government. We anticipate this gap to be in excess of $5.6 million for the 2019-20 school year.
  • Based on the factors above, our local levy has had to ‘back-fill’ state responsibilities for basic education. However, the amount that the state will allow our voters to contribute is reduced by 20.5% (from 2016-17 to 2019-20 school year).


Every dollar we don’t spend this school year can help reduce our deficit as we move into 2020-21. As a result, we want to make any cost savings that we can now, throughout the district. While we are always thoughtful stewards of our resources, we will be more deeply scrutinizing all expenditures, including travel, staff openings, materials and supplies, and more for the remainder of the year in order to seek out all possible savings. 


View Frequently Asked Questions


2020-21 Budget Priorities Survey


As preparation for the upcoming school year, the superintendent and Olympia School Board sought community, staff, parent and student input on the Olympia School District budget development. The district is projected to face a deficit in the 2020-21 school year.


The window to complete the survey closed on March 18.




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