June 2, 2017 Policy Brief

Key Dates

All eyes next week will be on the Economic Forecast coming out Tuesday June 7. This information will help inform budget negotiations, along with the upcoming Revenue Forecast.

June 20: Revenue Forcast

June 30: Budget or Continuing Resolution for 2017-2019 must be adopted

July 7: Initiative Filing Deadline


Policy Round Up

The debate concerning staff mix increased over the holiday weekend with a detailed story from Neal Morton at the Seattle Times. Staff mix is a state formula to allocate school funding based on the experience level of a school’s teachers. Washington is one of only seven states to use this approach, in large part because it creates inequities in funding levels for students. A more equitable approach would be to allocate funding to fit individual student needs.


Key Numbers

  • 5 – the total number of digits in the “staff mix” numeral to determine school funding based on teacher experience levels. The numeral is the result of a state formula.

  • 7 – how many states use staff mix to fund education.

  • 60 – the percentage of Washington voters who support eliminating the staff mix factor by distributing funding in ways that do not account for teacher experience.*

* A recently-completed poll surveyed 500 likely November 2018 voters statewide. It was conducted with Los Angeles-based pollster Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates between May 11 and May 16th and has a margin of error of 4.4 percent.


Social Media Chatter

Want to know the latest in reporting on education issues? Follow the hashtag #EWA17 to track the annual conference in the other Washington of the Education Writer’s Association. 

What We're Reading

OP-ED: School vouchers don't just undermine public schools, they undermine our democracy – LA Times
Authors: Jonah Edelman, CEO of Stand for Chlidren; Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers.

“We believe taxpayer money should support schools that are accountable to voters, open to all, nondenominational and transparent about students’ progress. Such schools – district and charter public schools – are part of what unites us as a country.”

McCleary roundup: A poll, fact check and candlelight vigil on school funding – Seattle Times
“Once again, most of the news about the McCleary school-funding fight this week came from outside the Capitol, where a group of lawmakers continues to meet, trying to come to an agreement on how to satisfy a state Supreme Court ruling that requires a big boost in school funding. The education-advocacy group Stand for Children, for example, released the results of a new poll of likely voters that found 51 percent of respondents had not seen, heard or read anything about the McCleary case.

The Education of ‘The Wire’ – The Ringer
“Fifteen years after the premiere of HBO’s landmark drama, we look back at the show’s poignant examination of the American public school system and the four young actors at the center of the story”

In fight over Washington’s school funding, some want big change in who gets how much — but is it too late? – Seattle Times
“Currently, districts that enroll more at-risk students typically have a harder time recruiting and retaining experienced educators, meaning they have a lower staff mix and receive less funding. And that lower staff mix ripples through other programs meant to support students living in poverty or who have special needs.”

A Bipartisan Approach to School Funding Boosts Equity – Education Week
“Under the governor's plan to modernize school funding, the state is providing additional resources to address the achievement gap. By investing to meet the unique needs of English-language learners, students living in the state's poorest ZIP codes, and students who qualify for gifted and talented programs, we can begin to provide the services young people need to improve their public education experience."

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