Archive for November, 2008

What’s the future of Washington’s K-12 public schools?

Education reform and funding is a hot topic right now.

Washington State is facing one of the most difficult budget deficits in decades. The decisions our state lawmakers make in the next Legislative session will impact the future of Washington’s schools and its one million children.

Although the budget situation is grim, we can still make progress toward building an education system that prepares every child for college, work and life.

Join us at a presentation by State Representative Ross Hunter on the progress of the Basic Education Finance Task Force to make major recommendations on what basic education is and how much it costs.

This public event is co-sponsored by the League of Education Voters, Seattle Council PTSA, Community & Parents for Public Schools and other education stakeholders.

Monday, December 1, 2008
7 PM to 8:30 PM

John Stanford Center Auditorium
2445 3rd Avenue South (at Lander), Seattle

View your invitation.

The result of this task force’s efforts and the outcomes of this upcoming Legislative session will determine whether public schools are on the right track to make changes to ensure that our kids graduate ready for college, job training and work.

Your voice and participation will help ensure our state lawmakers are listening to the needs of our children and schools in Washington State.

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(Members present, FYI – Tom, Sullivan, Priest, Kowalkowski, Hyde, Bergeson, Grimm, Jarrett, Hunter, Dolan, Hartmann)


Process for December 8th and 9th meeting

>>Chair Grimm explained the TF would have before it a document of recommendations to which members can offer amendments. The TF will consider each the amendment, and votes by a majority of those present will carry. The hope is that at the end of Day 2, the TF will have a finished product.

>>Dr. Hyde asked if staff would provide responsibilities for members. WSIPP staff provided such a document. Sup. Kowalkowski asked if they would hold evening hours to accommodate public comment. Chair Grimm said they should plan to go as late as possible/necessary Monday.

>>Annie Pennucci, WSIPP, read through assigned duties (to the TF and to WSIPP). Items the TF has not yet addressed:

–          Professional development for all staff (teachers yes, classified no) – can discuss in December

–          Report to appropriate committees by December 1, 2008 – failed

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(Members present, FYI – Sullivan, Priest, Kowalkowski, Hyde, Bergeson, Grimm, Dolan, Anderson)


Discussion of proposals, continued

  • Accounting and budgeting system

>>Dr. Bergeson asked about the proposed uniform accounting and budgeting system, and if the state needs to create a new system (rather than using a current system or a modified version of a current system). Chair Grimm said that in his proposal it was intended to take a current system that works and use it; the struggles would come in getting everyone to transition to that system. Rep. Anderson cautioned that the transition would take time, maybe 6 years, because districts’ current systems are at various levels.

(Members present, FYI – Tom, Sullivan, Priest, Kowalkowski, Hyde, Bergeson, Grimm, Jarrett, Dolan, Hartmann, Anderson)

  • Early learning

>>Dr. Hyde asked about the proposed early learning program. Rep. Priest said they are working on language and will make it available soon (once they’ve finalized it). Dr. Hyde worried that even if they add more ECEAP slots, children may not be any better prepared for kindergarten because some programs are more about nurturing rather than instruction. She would prefer dollars be used to fund educational early learning programs. Sen. Tom said that model would be outside of basic education. Rep. Priest said they hope to address questions around which children should benefit from an early learning program and which programs are research-validated (this will be reflected in their modified proposal). Chair Grimm said he supports the principles Dr. Hyde expressed (programs be educational/instructional).

>>Rep. Priest said they think they’ve addressed the raised issues. He added that they moved administration of early learning funds to OSPI because the program would be part of basic education. Dr. Bergeson said she liked the idea of moving the administration of the early learning program to OSPI (to prevent two departments/agencies from running one program). Rep. Jarrett said they will give the Department of Early Learning the responsibilities of defining the program and identifying acceptable providers.<<

  • Oversight and accountability: Discuss SBE’s principles for an accountability system

>>Accountability – Dr. Hyde wondered about the use of the State Board of Education’s proposed accountability system, since the proposed system is still developing. Sen. Tom thought they had agreed to the principles the SBE provided. Chair Grimm said they can either punt the issue to the SBE, or adopt certain principles.<<

>>Oversight – Dr. Hyde felt there should be some entity that provides oversight (does not need to be the CQEW), since OSPI, the SBE and others share oversight (although oversight is not their “day jobs”). Chair Grimm said any other proposals are welcome.<<

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(Members present, FYI – Tom, Sullivan, Priest, Kowalkowski, Hyde, Chow, Bergeson, Grimm, Jarrett, Hunter, Dolan, Hartmann, Anderson)


Discussion of proposals, continued

  • Collective bargaining: deferred

Question from WSIPP staff – In the new salary allocation model, are salaries required to be not less or not more than allocated models?

>>Chair Grimm reviewed concerns over and questions about collective bargaining expressed by TF members last week. Dr. Dolan shared concerns about cost and implementation. Sen. Tom thought the TF would tighten up TRI pay and address some other issues, and provide an option for bargaining but not including it in the final recommendation. Sup. Kowalkowski said he would like to bargain pay locally for additional responsibilities/time (for club advisors, etc.) because he doesn’t want to pay hourly wages and would rather pay a stipend. Rep. Hunter asked Sup. Kowalkowski if he would like some districts to pay significantly more for the same additional responsibilities/time. Chair Grimm clarified that in his proposal, the governor could delegate bargaining responsibility for some or all items (meaning the governor could delegate the bargaining for advisor stipends to local districts).

>>Sen. Tom said as he understands it, the state is not the employer and therefore does not have the right to bargain; he asked if this was true. Chair Grimm said while he is not a lawyer, he views districts as agents of the state. He is not aware of any constitutional language barring the state from being named the employer of teachers. Rep. Sullivan asked about staff hired with levy dollars and who would bargain those salaries. Chair Grimm thought if districts are considered state agencies, then it just has to be put into law; he was happy to have someone look into the matter.  Rep. Anderson mentioned federal labor laws.

>>Rep. Sullivan asked again about employees funded with local dollars, and what role the state would play in hiring and firing. Chair Grimm said the situation would be similar to other state agencies and departments. Dr. Dolan suggested the remaining responsibilities be delegated to local school boards. Dr. Hyde said she would like benefits be negotiated at the state level, as well. Rep. Priest shared his impression of the original idea: that the state didn’t want to dictate how much districts might pay club advisors, but does want to determine values in the SAM (and include regional adjustments) to ensure uniformity/equity. Chair Grimm said his rationale matched Rep. Priest’s understanding. Dr. Bergeson orated on bargaining.<<

(Members present, FYI – Tom, Sullivan, Priest, Kowalkowski, Hyde, Chow, Bergeson, Grimm, Jarrett, Dolan, Hartmann, Anderson)

  • Supplemental pay: Model Schools (limit to Time); impose limitation on hourly rate

Question from WSIPP staff – To establish a per diem rate calculation in legislation, more explicit decision is necessary; does the TF assume a 40 hour work week for 10, 11 or 12 months?

>>Sen. Tom suggested a maximum be set. Sup. Kowalkowski said he is hesitant about that idea, as he values flexibility in determining stipend amounts. Sen. Tom said that is why they could set maximums instead, which would let districts retain flexibility. Rep. Jarrett said the next question is then what length of year do they want to use. Rep. Sullivan asked about the fairness in setting a cap. Dr. Bergeson then advocated for regional bargaining. Chair Grimm pointed out that state pensions can’t be bargained. Randy Parr, WEA, countered that certain items can be bargained, additional compensation and the like. Rep. Anderson advocated for increased transparency in any future system, to aid community understanding of funding realities.

>>Chair Grimm brought it back to the question at hand. Sen. Tom recommended that the number of months used match the number of months used in salary surveys. Dr. Dolan worried about the use of a 40 hour work week, thinking it may cause confusion among educators (since most work more than 40 hours a week). Rep. Sullivan brought up the issue of setting the ceiling without setting the floor. Chair Grimm asked if they should determine a set rate instead. Dr. Dolan offered that the rate could be set by taking an annual salary and dividing it by 180 days and 6 periods per day. Sen. Tom asked Sup. Kowalkowski if he wants a limit or not, because there are implications to both. Sup. Kowalkowski said he would take the limit.<<

(Members present, FYI – Tom, Sullivan, Priest, Kowalkowski, Hyde, Bergeson, Grimm, Jarrett, Dolan, Hartmann)

>>Back to collective bargaining – Sen. Tom asked if this supplemental pay decision is tied to statewide bargaining only. Chair Grimm said the TF would make the recommendation regardless of any collective bargaining decision, unless members changed their minds. Rep. Sullivan asked how classified staff would be treated. Chair Grimm said that in his plan, classified staff would be treated as state employees (like in higher education), but the issue hasn’t been addressed by the TF.

>>Rep. Priest wondered why Chair Grimm separated classified staff from certificated staff. Chair Grimm answered that he did so because classified roles are more similar within the category than to certificated staff. He added that classified staff probably closely match roles already used by the state for other personnel systems (and cited the battle with higher education 30+ years ago).<<

>>Back to classified staffing ratios – Dr. Bergeson wondered why the TF should recommend different staffing ratios (one for certificated and one for classified). Sen. Tom said they did so because districts hire enough classified staff to get the job done, not because they have to spend specified dollars.<<

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(Members present, FYI – Tom, Sullivan, Priest, Kowalkowski, Hyde, Chow, Bergeson, Grimm, Jarrett, Hunter, Dolan, Hartmann, Anderson)


Discussion of proposals, continued

  • Teacher evaluation (continued): Incorporate Dr. Dolan’s proposed language

>>Sen. Tom said he didn’t believe there was anything in the Model Schools proposal that prevented principals from accessing the evaluations conducted by peer evaluators/reviewers. Rep. Anderson said one benefit of the proposed system is that the profession will become self-regulating. Dr. Bergeson asked for clarification on the three occasions when teachers are evaluated. Rep. Hunter clarified that teachers are evaluated in the peer-review system during their student teaching and then before transitioning to the Professional tier. The NB certification process is used in lieu of a formal evaluation to move to the Master tier.

>>Sup. Kowalkowski shared his belief that the role of principals should be clearly delineated in the evaluation system, and principals should have input in compensation increases. Rep. Hunter personally agrees, but doesn’t think enough players in the system will agree (worry over “arbitrary and capricious” evaluations by principals). He offered that the proposed system will be welcomed as more uniform and fair. Chair Grimm took issue with the use of “arbitrary and capricious.” Sup. Kowalkowski said teaching is about more than just classroom performance, and includes interactions with colleagues and the community (continued advocating for principals included in evaluation system). Dr. Hyde supported replacing “evaluation” with “review.”

>>Dr. Dolan proposed the following language for Teacher Evaluation: “As the state salary schedule is modified through career ladders and certification, the evaluation system must be adjusted to provide a meaningful reflection of good instruction. The principal is the lead evaluator and, as such, is able to use data from peer reviews. This work should be assigned to the Professional Educator Standards Board.”

>>Chair Grimm asked if evaluation systems are based on anything besides performance. Dr. Dolan said that in her personal opinion, the current evaluation system is a paper process that does not provide meaningful evaluation of teacher performance. Sup. Kowalkowski said he likes the Model Schools proposal; he would just like to also see principals included in teacher evaluation.<<

Break for lunch… We will return at 1:30pm to address collective bargaining.

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(Members present, FYI – Tom, Sullivan, Priest, Kowalkowski, Hyde, Chow, Bergeson, Grimm, Jarrett, Hunter, Dolan, Hartmann, Anderson)


Discussion of proposals, continued

  • Teacher certification

>>Dr. Hyde wondered about the feasibility of having out-of-district evaluators. Rep. Hunter said they would rather pay people to drive somewhere else in the state than have a potential conflict of interest. Rep. Glenn Anderson said it would also help maintain similar standards across the state. Dr. Laurie Dolan suggested they instead include language preventing conflicts of interest, as some districts are large enough where teachers may never meet and others are small enough that they know teachers in the surrounding districts too. Rep. Hunter said they could insert language specifying that for districts with >X students evaluators can be in-district and for districts with <X students evaluators can be out-of-district.

>>Sup. Kowalkowski asked about the role of principal evaluations. Rep. Hunter said the peer-evaluation system would not supersede principal evaluations and the role those evaluations play (hiring and firing, mainly). Dr. Bergeson asked about the point, then, of the peer-evaluation system. Rep. Hunter said principals are not involved in the peer-evaluation system (which determines compensation increases) to prevent arbitrary award of pay increases. Sup. Kowalkowski likes the proposed evaluation system, with the principal evaluations and the peer evalauations.

[Joke of the morning: Sen. Tom said they would yield Rep. Hunter’s minutes to Seattle School Board President Cheryl Chow. Ms. Chow said she didn’t plan to talk that long.]

>>Ms. Chow said she sees the “buck stopping” with the principal, or ultimately the superintendent, and doesn’t see the value in removing those individuals from compensation decisions. Rep. Jarrett defended the use of the peer-evaluation system. Dr. Hyde said principals in her district are the instructional leaders at their respective schools, and asked if peer evaluators would share evaluations with each teacher’s principal. Rep. Jarrett said they hadn’t addressed that. He added that he sees value in the peer-evaluation system because most principals do not have time to thoroughly evaluate teachers. Sup. Kowalkowski asked if they should replace the word “evaluation” with “review” in the new system (calling it a peer-review system). Dr. Dolan offered that peer reviews be conducted when teachers want to move from tier to tier, rather than each year. Yearly evaluations of teachers would be conducted by principals.

Back to this topic after a 10 minute break…

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(Members present, FYI – Tom, Sullivan, Priest, Hyde, Chow, Bergeson, Grimm, Jarrett, Hunter, Hartmann, Kowalkowski, Dolan)

[Some documents are up on the BEFTF website. Find the working draft of the report here. Find a summary of decisions to date here. Find a list of decisions yet to be made here.]


Discussion of proposals, continued

Questions from WSIPP staff

  • Employee compensation: deferred
  • Salary survey – 10-, 11- or 12-month year?: 10- and 12-month salaries, to understand implications of both

>>Sen. Rodney Tom thought there should be consistency, e.g. not using 10 months for annual salaries and 12 months for TRI pay. Rep. Ross Hunter said that whatever decision they make, the Task Force needs to justify the choice. To him, it made sense to do a survey on 10- and 12-month salaries, applying the 12-month survey to employees who work a 12-month year and the 10-month survey for employees who work a 10-month year. Superintendent of Public Instruction Terry Bergeson wondered about the impact of either decision. Chair Dan Grimm countered that the Department of Personnel has qualified and competent staff to help explain the implications of any decisions.

>>Dr. Bette Hyde said that if push comes to shove, she prefers using 12-month salaries. She thought it unfair to teachers who don’t dictate their hours or length of the year. Dr. Hyde also thought we could end up moving to a full-year calendar.<<

  • Pay for performance, knowledge and skills – Bonus for ProCert for teachers in current SAM?: Conduct cost analysis

>>Rep. Hunter voiced his preference for not offering the bonus to teachers in the old system; it’s an incentive to join the new system. Rep. Fred Jarrett expressed his preference for eliminating the current ProCert [system], since it will be replaced with the new ProCert [system]. Dr. Bergeson thought offering a bonus to teachers in the old system is a good placeholder during the transition to the new system. Rep. Pat Sullivan agreed with the other representatives that there shouldn’t be a disincentive to move into the new system, but acknowledged that teachers in the old system shouldn’t be penalized for entering the profession under the old system. Sen. Tom said he did not see value in grandfathering in too many people because this leads to a dual system. Dr. Bergeson spoke to the fact that teachers on the current salary schedule do not move up for obtaining ProCert. Sen. Tom responded that he believes it to be more valuable for the state to foot the bill for tuition, rather than hand out bonuses.

>>Superintendent Jim Kowalkowski pointed out that ProCert is currently skills based and wondered why not give teachers earning that ProCert a bump up. Dr. Hyde suggested that during the phase-in of the new system, a bonus be offered for obtaining ProCert and at a certain date those bonuses are ended and replaced with the new system. Chair Grimm asked if the two systems were incompatible, citing our various pension systems as an example of dual systems without implosion. A summary of Rep. Hunter’s answer: they are incompatible. Rep. Jarrett agreed, and proffered that instead of calling it a bonus, they could offer a non-compensatory monetary award to help reimburse costs for teachers in the current system.<<

  • NBPTS and master-level and mentor teachers

>>Dr. Bergeson took issue with the requirement on teachers to earn National Board certification to move to the master level. She was also concerned with the requirement for mentors to be National Board certified, suggesting a mentor certificate. Rep. Hunter (along with Sen. Tom) acknowledged they will need to phase-in the NBPTS requirement, but likes using it because it is externally validated (and a lot of money has already been spent to develop it). Dr. Bergeson brought up TAP (teacher assistance program) and the success OSPI has had with it. [Oddly, no one has mentioned that in the draft report the NBPTS requirement is no longer attached to mentor teachers.] Chair Grimm said he is a fan of getting rid of the current system, but worries that in using NBPTS we will end up with the same system in 10 years.

>>Sup. Kowalkowski brought up that in the draft report it appears professional level teachers can be mentors. Rep. Hunter said only master level teachers (with NB certification) can be mentors. [No correction to the draft report was directed.] Sup. Kowalkowski asked if the state would incur the cost of teachers pursuing NB certification. Sen. Tom said the TF needs to decide on that, and cost it out. Sup. Kowalkowski also asked if the colleges of education would assist teachers in obtaining NB certification. Sen. Tom and Rep. Hunter said they would like to see colleges of education improve their instructional and certification programs.

  • Loan forgiveness: Amend language to name math and science as shortage areas and if districts have other shortages, they can ask for a waiver from the overseeing Board

>>Dr. Hyde asked how shortage areas would be determined and loans given out. Rep. Hunter said loan forgiveness would be granted by districts when the candidate is hired. Sen. Tom said the shortage areas would need to be documented. Rep. Jarrett said the TF needs to decide if it wants districts or the state to determine who receives loan forgiveness. Sup. Kowalkowski asked how loan forgiveness dollars would be allocated. Rep. Hunter answered that they have a formula based on district budgets. Chair Grimm offered that loan forgiveness could instead by given out as increased compensation. Sen. Tom said he would like to have a tax accountant look at any system to explain implications. Chair Grimm said offering loan forgiveness as compensation is simpler and requires less administrative oversight and cost. Dr. Bergeson said they are looking at things like loan forgiveness to avoid a conversation about differential pay.

>>Sen. Tom suggested shortage areas be determined at the district level. Chair Grimm said that would require more sophisticated data and tools than currently available, which is fine; he just wanted to share that information. Sup. Kowalkowski thought math and science should be clearly identified as shortage areas across the state.<<

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(Members present, FYI – Tom, Sullivan, Priest, Kowalkowski, Hyde, Chow, Bergeson, Grimm, Jarrett, Hunter, Dolan, Hartmann)


Discussion of proposals, continued

  • $210 allocation to central office administration: deferred

>>Back to supplemental services – Dr. Dolan brought in some sample Spokane financials, which brought us back to Rep. Hunter’s question on whether the Legislature wants to mandate how those funds are spent or simply allocate based on a model.

>>Review of staffing ratios in Model School – Rep. Hunter had staff run the numbers on staffing three types of high schools: high percentage of low-income students, moderate percentage and low percentage. Rep. Hunter asked if these numbers looked acceptable, or if the formulas should be tweaked. Chair Grimm clarified that as far as he knew, all proposals recommended lowering staff ratios; the question is whether these ratios are mandates or for allocation purposes. Dr. Dolan suggested looking for any area where something could be taken out of the proposed report, to help cut costs. Chair Grimm said the Model Schools proposal would be phased in over time, but regardless, the solution is going to be expensive. [There was also a reference to The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy.]<<

  • Early learning

(Staff questions: Who standardizes the program? Are teachers certificated? What is the role of the Department of Early Learning? Is this for allocation?)

>>Rep. Hunter brought up concerns over whether state funds could be given to early learning programs run by faith-based organizations. He suggested that the Caseload Forecast Council determines the number of slots necessary to serve all eligible children and the Department of Early Learning locates suitable programs to meet that need. Dr. Hyde would like to see an incentive for elementary schools and early learning programs to partner for smoother transitions.

>>Chair Grimm asked about the nature of early learning programs and whether they provide learning opportunities for children. Rep. Hunter said yes, they are learning programs, which are held to ECEAP standards. Ms. Hartmann said currently there are a few faith-based organizations who receive state funds to run ECEAP programs. Concerns were also raised at the complexity of this issue. Rep. Priest spoke out in favor of including early learning even though it is complicated, because if the TF doesn’t include it nothing will get done. He asserted that it’s more important for at-risk children to be served than worry over having to stop funding a few programs.

>> Chair Grimm’s answers to questions from staff: OSPI; yes; don’t care; mandate<<

>>NERCs – Dr. Hyde asked if NERC enhancements would only be available for CTE courses. Ms. McLain explained the justification behind the enhancement was the higher materials cost for CTE courses.<<

>>Central office funding – Dr. Hyde requested clarification on the funding of central offices; she was under the impression that 6 percent of the district budget would be allocated for central office staff salaries. Rep. Hunter used the example of a groundskeeper, who works at each building. That person would be considered classified and paid by each building to reflect actual time spent at each building. The 6 percent for central office is for materials and staff used at the district level, not the school level. Rep. Jarrett said he thought the 6 percent was for salaries and the $210 NERC allocation for maintenance. Rep. Hunter said they need to run some cost models to compare to actual districts (to see if there is a more accurate percentage they should use). Sen. Tom said the state average is 6 percent, which is where the number originated. The TF called on Jennifer Priddy, OSPI, to opine on the 6 percent. Ms. Priddy saw the 6 percent as allocating excess funds to high-poverty districts for something that is not poverty driven.<<

>>On the issue of writing a more expository report, Chair Grimm suggested the TF contract an outside writer (as staff capacity is limited). TF members agreed.<<

We will be back tomorrow morning at 9am. Wednesday’s meeting has been cancelled.

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Discussion of proposals, continued

  • Highly capable students: change to allocation formula

>>On highly capable students – WSIPP staff members needed clarification as to whether this funding is an allocation or a mandate. Rep. Hunter said this could be a legal issue if a test is administered to determine eligibility (like an IQ test). There is also the worry that a program with an admission test would not represent the demographics of the state (i.e. underrepresentation of student subgroups). By keeping these programs out of basic education, there is the possibility that funds allocated for those programs are spent elsewhere. As Sen. Tom said, parents of highly capable students are strong advocates for their children.

>>Rep. Sullivan said that with the expectation of all students to achieve a year’s worth of growth, he worries about the growth of gifted children if funds aren’t categorical. Sup. Kowalkowski wondered what would happen if gifted/talented children received the same amount of funding as special education or ELL students, as many of them are special needs in a different way. He also suggested expanding College in the High School programs to help serve advanced students. Dr. Hyde supported Rep. Sullivan’s comment, saying if districts don’t offer gifted programs parents will look to move their children to private schools, which they don’t want. Rep. Hunter stressed again his concern that testing would cause underrepresentation in programs. Sup. Kowalkowski remembered his other point – if K-12 is adequately funded, then local funds could be used for gifted programs (as athletics are locally funded and are, in essence, programs for gifted athletes).<<

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(FYI, members present: Sullivan, Priest, Kowalkowski, Hyde, Chow, Bergeson, Grimm, Jarrett, Hunter, Anderson, Dolan, Tom)


Discussion of proposals, continued (straw poll in italics)

  • Small school district funding adjustments: deferred

>>Rep. Hunter advocated the issue be left alone. After Rep. Hunter’s explanation, Sup. Kowalkowski attempted to summarize: “so what you’re saying is, ‘trust us.'” Rep. Hunter indicated that was a correct summary.<<

  • Phase-in: deferred

>>On class sizes – Dr. Hyde then took the discussion in a different direction, asking about the small class size enhancement for schools with student populations that are more than 50 percent low-income. She wanted to know if it was prorated for percent low income, pointing out schools with 51 percent low-income students have different needs than schools with 81 percent low-income students. Rep. Hunter said it was an easy formula to use, and was preferred to creating a complicated formula. He added that schools with high populations of low-income students would receive a lot more money regardless.

>>Dr. Dolan asked about the class sizes for CTE and AP/IB courses. Rep. Priest answered that AP/IB had smaller class sizes to help schools offer those programs (in case they don’t have the demand). CTE had smaller class sizes because of safety concerns and the changing nature of CTE courses. Dr. Dolan wondered about the financial impact of smaller class sizes for AP/IB in districts that have the demand for classes of 25 students. Chair Grimm offered that larger districts could return the extra funds. Dr. Dolan thought these classes could be an area for the state to save some money, while allowing districts to offer those smaller class sizes if they so desired. Rep. Priest said he would look into the cost implications of the CTE class sizes. Dr. Dolan said what concerned her more were the class sizes for lab sciences, as all students must take lab science courses.

>>On supplemental services – Dr. Dolan asked about the allocations provided for secondary schools and wondered if those dollars may be better spent in elementary schools. Then we segued into questions of legality around an allocation model and the proposed funding levels (i.e. will schools not spend the money as they should to comply with things like NCLB). It was offered that this is where an accountability system comes in. Dr. Dolan wondered about the need for the extra supports offered in high school when the year is 155 hours longer. Rep. Hunter asserted that they are also increasing expectations for students, and struggling students will need additional supports to meet those increased expectations. Next some long orations that basically concluded “if practitioners have a better suggestion for class sizes, we’ll use those.” Dr. Bergeson said the data is now available to generate effective staffing ratios. Rep. Hunter then asked if the Legislature should mandate how each supplemental program is run in each district. [This was quite the cyclical conversation.]

>>On classified staff allocation – Rep. Priest said the Model Schools formula was meant to reflect, at minimum, the current market (at the district level, does not include instructional aides). Chair Grimm directed the draft reflect that change. Dr. Bergeson then advocated for the inclusion of a graduation specialist at each school (1:1000 students). Rep. Hunter said they considered that, but in the attempt of keeping things simple, it was not included.

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