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Friends, you did it! - 2017 Legislative Recap

Access to High-Quality Schools, Current Events & News, Legislation, School Funding | 06/30/2017

Libuse Binder
Executive Director, Stand for Children Washington

I am proud to call your attention to HB 2242, the bi-partisan legislation passed by Washington State lawmakers on June 30th. For many of you, the challenge of effective and equitable education for every student in Washington has been ongoing for a decade or more. In the six months of my tenure, I can report that the commitment and dedication of our supporters has been a steady wind at our back. 

And it paid off. 

Overall the bill and accompanying state budget will put $7.3 billion more state dollars into the education system over 4 years, a big chunk of which is an absorption of local salary costs by the state and some is new money all together—including a combined $912 million in new money for Career and Technical Education and supports for the students who need it most. 

The legislation includes some huge wins we persistently advocated for:

  • Ending “staff mix” - a state formula to allocate school funding based on the experience level of a school’s teachers. The staff mix factor created inequity between districts in funding levels by sending more money to districts with higher average teacher salaries—mostly districts with more affluent communities.
  • Removing Salary Allocation Model - related to “staff mix,” a funding mechanism that was used to determine how much districts should get for teachers based only on a teacher’s educational level and experience instead of more student-centered metrics like performance, certification and additional job responsibilities. Most states do not have a Salary Allocation Model. The bill also directs OSPI to develop a model schedule which districts can use in local bargaining if desired.
  • Categorical Career and Technical Education Funding - funding that used to go to a school’s general budget will now be required to be spent on vocational programing. Restrictions on how the money can be used are put in place.
  • Creation of a High-Poverty Concentration Funding Stream - the state will now provide additional funding to schools with student populations with more than 50% of students on Free and Reduced Price Lunch. The money will go through the Learning Assistance Program and must be sent to the school generating the dollars and spent on supports for students who are below grade level. The state previously allocated money for schools with high-poverty concentrations, but the funding went into the general budget.
  • $912 million over 4 years for Targeted Student-Centered Programing that must be spent on serving the intended students: - $197.5 million for Career and Technical Education - $62.8 million for Highly Capable students - $527.9 million for the Learning Assistance Program (the state’s program for supporting students who are below grade level with priority on K-4 reading). - $53 million for Special Education - $65.7 million for Transitional Bilingual Program
  • Almost Twice as Much Funding for Teacher Mentoring: The state will raise the annual allocation for teacher mentoring from $5.5 million/year to $10.5 million/year.

Many of you were on the front lines with us.

I’d like to offer an ovation to our partners on the C4SS campaign, including the League of Education Voters, the Asian Pacific Islander Coalition, the Statewide Poverty Action Network, and Equity in Education Coalition of Washington. Their expertise and the unwavering commitment they have made to Washington’s kids is what got us to the finish line, and is what will carry us forward in implementation of these policy changes. 

In the weeks and months ahead, the finer details of the legislation will be revealed. As always, we will challenge tired assumptions, hone good ideas, seek data to strengthen our positions and above all, advocate for every kid, no matter their background, or where they live in the Evergreen State.

With gratitude,

Libuse Binder

Executive Director
Stand for Children Washington

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