2019 Legislative Priority: Fair Local K-12 Funding

By League of Education Voters Policy Team

We believe students come first. We are focused first and foremost on meeting the needs of every student.

We are dedicated to designing an equitable education system that serves all students based on their strengths, supports their needs, and provides the resources they need to be successful.

We are committed to working to close gaps experienced by historically and systemically underserved students— including students of color, students in poverty, students qualifying for special education services, students learning English, and students impacted by trauma. We believe this will lead to all students experiencing greater success and reaching their full potential.

BACKGROUND

Historically, local levies have provided about one quarter of K-12 education funding in Washington state, amounting to $2.6 billion in school year 2018-19. In 2018-19, districts raised an average of $2,395 per student in local levy funding, with levies ranging from $86 per student in some districts to over $4,000 in others. This difference is driven not only by the levy rates, or amounts that district voters agree to tax themselves, but also by the property values in a district.

For example, in 2018-19 one district passed a levy of about $1.13 per $1,000 of assessed value and raised $198 per student, while a higher property value district passed a similar levy of $1.14 per $1,000 of assessed value to raise $4,381 per student. (1)

WHAT HAS CHANGED?

As part of the legislative solution to fully fund basic education, several changes were made to how much districts can raise through the levy system that went into effect in January 2019. The two biggest changes to the levy system relate to the formula used to calculate how much districts can raise through levies and placing a lower overall limit on how much districts can raise. (2) Read More

2019 Legislative Priority: Special Education Funding

By League of Education Voters Policy Team

We believe students come first. We are focused first and foremost on meeting the needs of every student.

We are dedicated to designing an equitable education system that serves all students based on their strengths, supports their needs, and provides the resources they need to be successful.

We are committed to working to close gaps experienced by historically and systemically underserved students— including students of color, students in poverty, students qualifying for special education services, students learning English, and students impacted by trauma. We believe this will lead to all students experiencing greater success and reaching their full potential.

HOW DOES FUNDING FOR SPECIAL EDUCATION WORK IN WASHINGTON?

Districts receive both state and federal funding to provide educational services and supports to students with disabilities, with state funding providing the biggest portion of funding. There are several factors that determine how much special education funding a district receives, but the two factors that most impact the level of state funding for special education for school districts are:

  • Special Education Enrollment: Each student regardless of disability or type of service received will generate the same amount of funding per student for a single district, but districts are capped at generating special education funding for a maximum of 13.5% of overall student enrollment. For example, if a district has a special education enrollment of 15.0% they will only generate special education funding for 13.5% of students.
  • District Teacher Salary Funding: The amount of funding each student generates differs by district and can vary by more than $1,000 per student across the state. There are several factors that go into each district’s per student funding amount, but the most significant is a district’s state-funded teacher salary amount. The higher a district’s state-funded teacher salary the more special education funding per student they will generate. (1)

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Podcast – Glenna Gallo, Assistant Superintendent of Special Education

In our podcast, we interview policymakers, partners, and thought leaders to spotlight education policies, research, and practices so that together we can create a brighter future for every Washington student.

In this episode, League of Education Voters Communications Director Arik Korman asks Glenna Gallo, Assistant Superintendent of Special Education Services at the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI), about her career path, what she sees as the biggest opportunity in Washington state to support students with disabilities, and how she would change the broader education system if there were no budgetary constraints.

 

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2019 Legislative Priority: Special Education

By League of Education Voters Policy Team

We believe students come first. We are focused first and foremost on meeting the needs of every student.

We are dedicated to designing an equitable education system that serves all students based on their strengths, supports their needs, and provides the resources they need to be successful.

We are committed to working to close gaps experienced by historically and systemically underserved students— including students of color, students in poverty, students qualifying for special education services, students learning English, and students impacted by trauma. We believe this will lead to all students experiencing greater success and reaching their full potential.

WHAT IS SPECIAL EDUCATION?

With the passage of federal legislation in the 1970s, students with disabilities were guaranteed legal rights to access a public education that would accommodate their specific learning needs. Prior to guaranteeing the right to access education, it was common practice for students with disabilities to be actively excluded from public education settings. Federal legislation was intended to ensure that all students have the ability to access the public education system through the program of special education. (1)

The program of special education serves over 130,000 students across 295 Washington school districts. Special education provides services and supports to students with disabilities to help students access a “free and appropriate education.” In order to qualify for special education services, students must have their school performance “adversely affected” by one of the following qualifying conditions: (2) Read More

Meet Laura Hitchcock, our new Interim CEO

Interim CEO Laura Hitchcock - League of Education VotersLaura Hitchcock comes to League of Education Voters as the Interim CEO from over 25 years in nonprofit and policy management. As a consultant, she has worked with Jan Glick & Associates to help strengthen organizational clients’ external, internal, and strategic focus, as well as provide strategic clarity to coalition and multi-organization initiatives, including facilitating the formation of the Early Learning Action Alliance.

Recent consulting engagements include facilitating Brave Conversations – a convening of over 25 youth services provider agencies to envision a better approach to serving youth, and strategic clarity work with behavioral health, substance abuse treatment, and cancer research organizations. An attorney by training, Laura has also served as Policy Director of the United Way of King County and Executive Director of the WA Public Health Association. She has also spent over 10 years working in local governments in the Seattle area, with a strong focus on policy research and policy advocacy to address equity in population outcomes.

A public school graduate from a family of teachers, Laura is the proud parent of two Seattle public school students and has been active in PTA and other district-level work in Seattle. For fun, she likes to get outside, travel, and to sample many of the new eateries popping up in the ever-changing region.

Welcome aboard, Laura! Read More

Podcast – Governor Jay Inslee

Governor Jay Inslee - League of Education Voters
Governor Jay Inslee

In our podcast, we interview policymakers, partners, and thought leaders to spotlight education policies, research, and practices so that together we can create a brighter future for every Washington student.

In this episode, League of Education Voters Communications Director Arik Korman asks Governor Jay Inslee what he sees as the biggest challenges and opportunities in education from pre-K through higher ed and how he addresses them in his 2019-2021 budget proposal, what he hopes to achieve with special education funding changes, why focusing on student well-being is important, and why he chose to dedicate funding toward student supports in higher education.

 

 

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Governor Inslee’s 2019-2021 Budget Proposal

By Jacob Vela, League of Education Voters Senior Policy Analyst

Governor Jay Inslee - League of Education VotersGovernor Jay Inslee released his 2019-21 budget proposal today. The Governor’s proposal is a start to the budget conversation that will get underway in earnest on January 14, 2019 when the new legislature convenes to begin hearing legislative proposals for their 105 days of the scheduled regular legislative session that extends through mid-April.

The proposed budget includes around $1billion in funding increases across the education continuum from pre-school through higher education. The governor recommends $173 million more for early learning, including serving 2,385 more students through the Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program (ECEAP).

An increased focus is brought to student mental health with $155 million in additional investments for school nurses, psychologists, social workers, and guidance counselors for elementary and middle schools. Funding will be rolled out over several years with a priority given to low-income districts. Read More

Podcast – The 2019 Washington Teachers of the Year

2019 Washington state Teacher of the Year Robert Hand - League of Education Voters
Robert Hand, 2019 Washington state Teacher of the Year

In our podcast, we interview policymakers, partners, and thought leaders to spotlight education policies, research, and practices so that together we can create a brighter future for every Washington student.

In this episode, League of Education Voters Communications Director Arik Korman asks the 2019 Teachers of the Year about their teaching philosophy, their greatest accomplishment in the classroom, how they would make teaching better in Washington state, what advice they would give a new teacher, what motivation they still carry with them from their first day in the classroom, and what they would ask the Washington state Legislature to prioritize in the upcoming 2019 session. LEV was honored to interview:

Robert Hand, 2019 Washington state Teacher of the Year and Northwest ESD 189 Regional Teacher of the Year from the Mount Vernon School District

Tracy Castro-Gill, 2019 Puget Sound ESD 121 Regional Teacher of the Year from the Seattle School District

Ryan Healy, 2019 Capital Region ESD 113 Regional Teacher of the Year from the Yelm School District

Kristine Mars, 2019 ESD 123 Regional Teacher of the Year from the Kennewick School District

Mathew Brown, 2019 North Central ESD 171 Regional Teacher of the Year from the Manson School District

Susan Douglas, 2019 Northeast ESD 101 Regional Teacher of the Year from the Almira School District

Karen Doran, 2019 Olympic ESD 114 Regional Teacher of the Year from the Port Angeles School District

Kimberly Miller, 2019 ESD 112 Regional Teacher of the Year from the Woodland School District

Michael Clinton, 2019 ESD 105 Regional Teacher of the Year from the Mt. Adams School District

 

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Podcast – Seattle Superintendent Denise Juneau

Seattle Superintendent Denise Juneau - League of Education VotersIn our podcast, we interview policymakers, partners, and thought leaders to spotlight education policies, research, and practices so that together we can create a brighter future for every Washington student.

In this episode, League of Education Voters Communications Director Arik Korman sat down with Seattle Public Schools Superintendent Denise Juneau to discuss her listening tour around the district, her Student Advisory Board, her strategy for closing achievement gaps, and her personal education journey.

 

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Students Educate Educators on Implicit Bias

By Arik Korman, League of Education Voters Commnications Director

 

Inspirational Workshops has partnered with King County Best Starts for Kids to expand trauma-informed and restorative practices in schools, beginning with Garfield High School and Washington Middle School in Seattle to offer the Trailblazers Program: youth of color blazing the trail for others.

The Trailblazers Program, created by Inspirational Workshops founder Theresa Hardy, is designed to empower underrepresented students to gain confidence that will support them with navigating institutionalized racism. Trailblazers introduces youth to social justice awareness and elevates student voice.

Trailblazers Implicit Bias Professional Development Presentation part 1 - League of Education VotersLast week, Trailblazers presented a professional development (PD) workshop on implicit bias for the entire educator staff at Washington Middle School, which was the first PD in the Seattle School District ever led by students. The session was led by Washington Middle School students Sona, an 8th-grader, and Kamilo (a.k.a. Bubbles), a 7th-grader. Sona and Kamilo told their personal stories and led discussions on what implicit bias is, which biases were in the room, why people have implicit bias, negative impacts of implicit bias, and solutions. Read More