The cancelled Work Session on the 2017-2018 budget is scheduled for tomorrow, Monday, April 3rd from 5:30-7:00 pm at JSCEE.
(Immediately preceding it is the Curriculum & Instruction Policy committee meeting from 4:00-5:30 pm. Agenda.)
Remember that Crosscut article that pointed out that the Senate GOP numbers were off? The News Tribune finds another issue:
What has now become clear is that the education plan introduced by Senate Republicans doesn’t put as much new money into schools as GOP leaders would like people to believe.Two policy wonks, Barbara Billinghurst and Nancy Chamberlain, at the Washington's Paramount Duty Facebook page have really done yeoman's work on this issue. Thank you!
Senate leaders have said their budget would put about $1.8 billion in new state money into K-12 schools in the next two years — a number that, on its surface, comes close to matching the $1.9 billion investment promised in a competing plan from House Democrats.
But that Senate estimate of $1.8 billion doesn’t reflect the actual amount of new funding that would go to school districts under the GOP proposal.
Senate leaders now acknowledge that — after factoring in how their plan would reduce local dollars for schools — their approach would add significantly less than $1.8 billion to the state’s K-12 system in the next two years.
First up, Barbara Billinghurst (she has four valuable posts).
#1 Equity Results
Next, for each proposal and for each year, I cranked out how much funding went to a particular purpose, such as students in poverty, being careful to use the particular proposal’s formula rules and eligibility assumptions.
I calculated five such per pupil figures: guaranteed entitlement per pupil, per pupil funding for students in poverty, per pupil funding for students learning to speak English, per pupil funding for students needing special education services, and per pupil funding for highly capable students.
To do this I combined all the funding from one proposal that served the same purpose into one lump sum. Regardless of how a particular proposal determined student eligibility in generating this lump sum, I used the same number of eligible students in calculating each proposal’s per pupil funding for a particular purpose.
This procedure produced four comparable per pupil figures for each of the five student categories.
Here are the charts below.
Although there's much to say about these equity results, for now I'll focus on the per pupil funding for students in poverty.
Both the House and the Senate's proposals generate alarmingly low per pupil funding for students in poverty.
As a minimum, experts say we should at least target an additional 20% of the guaranteed amount to students in poverty. Some studies show a much larger weight should be given to students in poverty.
Here we find that the House's per pupil funding for students in poverty rises from $571 to $1,815 over the six year time span. This represents an increase in the student weight for poverty from 6.1% to 11.8%, still less than 20%.
The Senate's per pupil funding for students in poverty fares worse. It does increase from $741 per pupil to $854 per pupil over the six year time span. But the weight given to students in poverty falls off, going from 8.1% to 6.3%.
#2 Here are answers to some questions:
1. Regarding per pupil calculations:
The funds for students in the categorical or targeted groups are not included in the guaranteed entitlement funding. The students in the guaranteed entitlement group represent the entire enrollment, all the students in K-6 elementary grades. Some of these students are in one or more of the targeted groups.
It works like this: This is an example, not real data.
Suppose all 100 students (S) in a district each get $10,000 and the 40 students in poverty (P) each get an additional $2000, the 30 students learning to speak English (E) each get an additional $2000, the 20 students needing special education (SE) services each get an additional $10,000, and the 5 students in the highly capable program (HC) each get an additional $1,500.
The formula for the total funding for the district is:
Total Funding = (100 * $10,000) + (40 * $2,000) + (30 * $2,000) + (20 * $10,000) + (5 * $1,500)
Total Funding = $1,000,000 + $80,000 + $60,000 + $200,000 + $7,500
Total Funding = $1,347,500
Total Number of Weighted Students =
= (100 * $10,000/$10,000) + (40 * $2,000/$10,000) + (30 * $2,000/$10,000) + (20 * $10,000/$10,000) + (5 * $1,500/$10,000)
= (100 * 1) + (40 * 0.2) + (30 * 0.2) + (20 * 1) + (5 * 0.15)
= 100 + 8 + 6 + 20 + 0.75
The Student Weighted Funding Formula =
= (S * 100% * per pupil guaranteed entitlement) + (P * 20% * per pupil guaranteed entitlement]) + (E * 20% * per pupil guaranteed entitlement) + (SE * 100% * per pupil guaranteed entitlement) + (HC * 100% * [per pupil guaranteed entitlement])
Showing just the student weights:
100% S + 20% P + 20% E + 100% SE + 15% HC
It works like this: This is an example, not real data.
So, if you want, you can figure out the student weights for Washington. Below’s the data from my study:
2. Regarding QEC recommendations
I’ll provide the list of QEC studies used in my study. In the meantime, all of them are on line at: http://www.k12.wa.us/QEC/
The Odden & et al (2006) study significantly informed the QEC proceedings.
Odden, A., Picus, L. O., Goetz, M., Mangan, M. T., & Fermanich, M. (2006). An Evidenced-Based Approach to School Finance Adequacy in Washington.
#3 Sticker Shock Over the Cost of Education? Don’t Fret, At the Very Least It’s Reasonable
Like others, I too had some sticker shock about the recommended per pupil cost of education. After years of getting accustomed to the state’s meager funding for education, it was surprising to see how ample is full-funding.
In my study, I estimated that the SY 2018-19 QEC-recommended average for the full funding of basic education per student is $14,621 – all in state funds.
Back in 2006, based on the state studies being done at the time, the recommended per pupil funding for basic education looked like it was going to be at least $10,000 per pupil. At the time, the state’s SY 2005-06 average (state + local + federal) funding per pupil was just under $8,000 per pupil – most of which went to the funding of basic education.
In 2006 I wondered how the recommended $10,000 figure compared to the per pupil cost of education at private schools in my area. So, I looked up tuition costs for 31 private high schools in the Seattle Times School Guide (2006). These are listed in the table below.
In SY 2005-06, tuition costs at private high schools in the area ranged from $5,500 to $21,404.
But the actual cost of educating a student in these schools was higher, and in some cases, much higher. From talking to private school officials and reading about private schools’ funding sources, I learned that tuition pays the bulk of education costs in private schools, but not the whole freight.
Other funding sources included student fees, mandatory parent contributions, subsidies from religious organizations, donations garnered through fund raising efforts, and differentially higher tuition rates for certain categories of students. Some schools had established and then drew upon an endowment to help finance their operations.
In 2006 I was satisfied in thinking that $10,000 per pupil was probably a realistic figure given what was likely to be the actual cost private schools incurred to educate each student.
What about now? Recently I visited the websites of these same schools to find their current tuition rates. These rates are listed in the table below too. Note that some rates are for SY 2016-17 and some for SY 2017-18.
Many of these schools still make no bones about it, tuition only pays for some of their costs. All of the schools have a fee schedule in addition to their tuition rates.
In particular, all the religious high schools rely on funding sources external to their parents’ contributions to make up for the difference btween tuition and the actual cost of education.
For example, Evergreen Lutheran High School reports that its actual cost of education is $15,750 per pupil; yet its tuition for students from an affiliated synod is only $7,895.
Archbishop Murphy High School reports an actual cost of $17,345 per pupil of which $15,545 is paid by tuition and $1,800 by a subsidy from parishes.
The graph plots the table’s data and shows the placement of the recommended average state funding per pupil in SY 2005-06 and in SY 2018-19.
So, before judging the reasonableness of QEC’s SY 2018-19 recommendation, it’s important to consider two points.
First, the actual cost of educating students in private schools is likely to be significantly higher than their tuition costs.
Second, I am comparing a SY 2018-19 average to the tuition rates in older years (2016-17 and 2017-18). Private school tuition rates are likely to be even higher in SY 2018-19.
Given the data and the considerations, I’m satisfied that an estimated average of $14,621 per pupil to educate all our amazing and wonderfully diverse children in this state in school year 2018-19 is quite reasonable, and maybe even less than what it should be.
#4 Which proposal is better for Basic Ed funding?
Both the House and the Senate proposals come up short. Neither proposal is sufficiently adequate. Neither proposal is sufficiently equitable.
How do I know this? Well Last October I began to model the state’s current appropriation formulas and QEC’s recommended formulas for basic ed on an excel spread sheet. Three models: elementary, middle school and high school.
I used these three models to model the state’s Current funding program, the House’s proposed program, and the QEC recommended program.
I also modeled the Senate’s proposed funding program on an excel spread sheet.
I’ve updated my analysis to reflect the new bills (SB 5875, HB 2185, the proposed substitute HB 1067, and the levy cliff bill SB 5023).
For the Current, House and QEC proposals, there are two types of formulas: staffing and non- staff. So, for any given year and funding proposal, there are specific staffing ratios, salary allocations, non-staff allocation rates, student subgroup enrollment figures, eligibility rules, and assumptions, if needed, regarding inflation rates.
The senate’s funding program is more straightforward. I modeled the Senate’s proposed plan, paying attention to per pupil rates by category, the formulas for the maximum state per pupil guarantee by year, and the formulas for the maximum total funding per pupil guarantee by year.
To be clear then, I modeled four funding plans: Current, House, Senate and QEC. I analyzed the state funding generated by each model in two different years: SY 2018-19 when the Court expects full funding, and SY 2024-25, the last year in which any proposed changes would be made (i.e. the House’s proposal). So, that’s a total of eight analyses.
In all eight analyses I used total and subgroup student enrollment numbers for the state’s elementary students (K-6) in SY 2016-17.
Although my results are only for elementary (K-6) students in the state, they are certainly enough to get the picture of what would happen under each proposal.
Main Purpose of Analyses:
So my main interest in all of this was to show how the Current, House and Senate proposals compare, in terms of adequacy and equity, to the QEC-recommended funding proposal.
For each proposal and for each year, I first calculated the total amount of state funding that would be generated, and used that to calculate an average state funding per pupil for elementary students. The proposed average per pupil figures can be compared to QEC’s average as a way of judging the adequacy of the proposals.
In SY 2018-19, both the Senate and House proposals would generate about the same basic education funding average: close to $10,700 per pupil.
Both are about a whopping $4000 per pupil short of the QEC recommended average of $14,621!
By the House’s proposal, our children will have to wait seven years until the final enhancements are made to basic education in September 2024! By then, the House’s average will have gained some ground on the QEC’s - $15, 453 per pupil as compared to $17,779 per pupil. But still short about $2,300 per pupil.
Meanwhile, the Senate’s average of $13,573 per pupil is now more than $4,000 less than the QEC average.
From Nancy Chamberlain:
More on Equity - I have redone my analysis on the Senate Education funding plan based on the revised Senate Ways & Means staff tables. If similar data exist for the House budget, I would be happy to produce those charts.
These charts show the CHANGE in average per student funding in each school district, plotted verses that school district's % Free and Reduced Lunch (FRL). Remember that the Senate bill uses a different definition of poverty, which would greatly reduce the % of students identified as in poverty. I used the % FRL on the State Report Card on the OSPI website. Note that 44% of all WA K-12 students are on FRL.
The difference between the two charts is the year - 2018-19 and 2019-20. You can see two main themes:
1) There is NO relationship between a school district's %FRL and how much new funding they receive.
2) In 2019-20, many school districts actually receive LESS funding than they do now, including school districts with very high FRL.