As districts across the state start planning for next school year they will be faced with some unfamiliar choices as they look to allocate $2.5 billion more in state funding next school year than the current school year. The most recent increase in state education funding was directed mostly to increase K-12 staff salaries, including the more than 50,000 teachers across the state. This was a key part of the court’s ruling as the state has underfunded teacher salaries for many years leaving districts to pick up the tab if they wanted to offer teachers a competitive salary.
As districts plan for how the influx of money will be spent in the face of the shifting funding landscape districts and community members will have some difficult questions to consider:
Does the state provide enough for all districts to attract and retain teachers, especially for high-poverty or rural districts?
How will the increased investments impact how districts use their local levy dollars?
How will the educational experience of students be positively impacted with the new investments?
Thanks in part to an incredible partnership with Tilth Alliance, League of Education Voters has continued to promote project-based learning. Since 2002 League of Education Voters has been partnering with South Shore, a Seattle Public Schools PreK-8 school serving around 700 students in Rainier Valley, to fund innovation and create proof points in hopes of spreading effective practices across the state.
Through our partnership with South Shore, since 2009 we have also helped support what has become the Rainier Beach Learning Garden, located behind South Shore, providing project-based learning for several nearby schools, community centers, and daycare programs. While land management and site coordination is now provide by Seattle Parks, the garden’s educational programming is managed by Tilth Alliance, a statewide nonprofit organization focused on organic gardening and urban ecology.
Tilth Alliance specifically utilizes the Rainier Beach Learning Garden as a facet of their mission “to increase access to fresh healthy food for folks in Rainier Valley.” By working with Tilth Alliance, League of Education Voters has continued to impact each South Shore student’s education. Read More
As mentioned in Part One, to help direct our work with our community to create positive change in Washington’s education system, we sent out a survey via email and social media channels in May to learn how Washington community members would like state education funding prioritized. We thank the 737 people, from 71 school districts across the state, who submitted responses.
Our survey first offered respondents an opportunity to rank 16 pre-established funding priorities to make the most difference for students [view results in Part One]. Then respondents had the opportunity to write in other priorities. Over 58% of the respondents added further priorities. Read More
By Emma Elise Hodges, League of Education Voters Communications Specialist
To help direct our work with our community to create positive change in Washington’s education system, we sent out a survey via email and social media channels in May to learn how Washington community members would like state education funding prioritized. We thank the 737 people, from 71 school districts across the state, who submitted responses. While we received responses proportionate to the population of middle to high socioeconomic status school districts, there was a disproportionality for lower socioeconomic school districts. Therefore, we looked at the priorities overall amongst all survey respondents and then parsed out the data based on school districts’ percentage of students on Free and Reduced Priced Lunch (FRPL), a common marker for socioeconomic status, to make sure we were understanding the priorities of our entire state.Read More
Today, Governor Inslee released his 2018 Supplemental Budget Proposal. The Governor recommends an increase of $950 million for the 2018-19 school year to fully fund K-12 staff salaries a year earlier than the education funding plan passed during the 2017 legislative session. The Governor’s proposal would comply with the recent Washington State Supreme Court order that the state must fully fund basic education by the 2018-19 school year.
The proposed budget includes a provision (Page 227) to ensure that no school district would receive less combined state and local funding in the 2018-19 school year or after than they would have under the state and local funding laws prior to the 2017 legislative session. This is intended to ensure that when combining state and local funding levels no district will be worse off in the future with the newly passed funding plan than under previous law. It is unclear how many districts would qualify for this hold harmless provision and what the actual costs may be.
Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) is proposing new student discipline rules as a result of changes to the law made by HB 1541 in 2016. HB 1541 requires that expulsions be no longer than an academic term (previously a year); students cannot be long-term suspended or expelled for “discretionary discipline;” school districts must provide educational services to students while they are suspended or expelled; and other changes to the development and distribution of district discipline policies, training, and reengagement plans.
The school year is well under way, and it’s hard to believe that Halloween is around the corner. My third-grade son can’t wait to put on his ninja costume and grow his candy hoard.
Here at League of Education Voters, we’re finalizing our priorities for 2018 and offering you some great resources. On October 24th, we’re hosting a free LEVinar on how Washington’s education results compare with those of other states across the country. And we published podcast interviews with both candidates for the 45th Legislative District Senate race. The outcome of this November 7 special election will determine who controls the state legislature.
I’d like to thank each of you who generously donated during our Back to School campaign. We couldn’t do our work without you, so if you haven’t supported us lately, you can still make a gift today.
Read below for more about our work.
Thanks again for all you do for Washington’s kids. We’re all in this together.
What is Connect Tri-Cities? It’s a job fair. A STEM competition. Veterans outreach. Retirement planning. Networking. Interactive exhibits. Job skills preparation. Guest speakers. Connect Tri-Cities will be a resource for the Tri-Cities community, employers and job seekers, sponsored by Hanford contractor Mission Support Alliance and their corporate partners, Leidos, Jacobs and Centerra Group.
Connect Tri-Cities seeks to collaborate with community and nation-wide stakeholders to support an effective transfer of knowledge and recruit job seekers in collaboration with STEM, trade/craft and apprenticeship organizations.