Email your legislator NOW: http://apps.leg.wa.gov/DistrictFinder/Default.aspx
Sign the petition NOW: http://gopetition.com/online/25946.html
“We lead the country in science and engineering jobs, but we are one of the states at the bottom in the production of scientists and engineers” -- Mark Emmert, UW president
So how bad are the cuts to K-12 education?
Seattle could lose about $20 million in I-728 funds.
- The House maintained “basic ed” funding.
- The Senate trimmed “basic ed,” but backfilled with federal stimulus money.
- The House maintained levy equalization funds at present levels.
- The Senate cut the levy equalization funds by 75 percent.
Levy equalization funds translate to thousands of dollars per student in some property-poor districts. Seattle doesn’t receive these funds.
- The House cut I-728 funds by 56 percent (it cut more, then backfilled with stimulus money).
- The Senate cut I-728 funds by 93 percent.
I-728 set up an achievement fund to help students meet state standards. Statewide, about half the money goes to class-size reduction; the other half goes to early learning, extended learning, and professional development. Seattle gets about $21 million in I-728 funds. SPS uses it to pay for more teachers, our sixth period in high school and all-day kindergarten for low-income kids.
This school year, I-728 allocations are $458 per student.
- The House budget would trim that to $184 next year and to $152 the year after.
- The Senate budget would trim that to $31 per student.
Translation for Seattle: Under the Senate plan, a loss of about $20 million in funding. Under the House plan, a loss of $12.5 million in 2009-10 and another $1.5 million the next budget year.
Both the House and Senate eliminated I-732 funds, the cost of living raises for teachers.
Here’s where we are:
As a state, we can’t even commit to giving kids the chance to go to college. The state doesn’t pay for the instructional hours or courses students need to succeed in today’s economy. Instead it leaves it to local districts to fund that crucial sixth period as an “enhancement.” Ditto a college-prep curriculum. Some can afford to, others can’t. The quality of secondary education varies a great deal between districts.
If I-728 funds are indeed slashed to $31 per student, Seattle’s ability to prepare kids for college or advanced training will be severely hurt. As is, only 1 in 6 Seattle Public School students meet the requirements for a four-year college.
THINK ABOUT THAT. In this -- the most educated city in the nation, where half the population older than 25 has a bachelor’s degree – 5 out of 6 SPS graduates CAN’T EVEN APPLY to college.
Giving kids the chance isn’t “basic ed,” and the funding isn’t protected as such. It says a lot about our state – and none of it good – when preparing kids for the realities of today’s workforce is considered “reform.”
It’s basic. We have to address it, and we have to get started now. THINK ABOUT IT: When leaders say, Now is not the time, by default their message to kids is, Now is not your time.
What to do
E-mail your legislators, especially your senator, Senators Margarita Prentice, Joe McDermott, Jeanne Kohl-Welles and Adam Kline are on the Ways and Means Committee. They need to vote to keep ed funding reform alive. Senator Ken Jacobsen is the only Seattle representative who didn’t vote for ed funding reform last month.
Tell them: Education is our state’s paramount duty. We need to treat it that way.
“Basic education” has to be defined by what kids need to succeed. Only then will we get the outcomes our state needs to stay viable.
- Kids need Core 24 (a college prep curriculum).
- Kids need early learning – high risk kids especially need preschool.
- Kids need smaller class sizes in grades K-2 so everyone gets the foundation they need to move on to more rigorous classes.
- Kids need great teachers.