K-12 Funding

"This week, state lawmakers will release a budget proposal that will make cuts in our public education system in order to close a historic budget shortfall. Kids in our public schools will feel the real impacts of these cuts. Our lawmakers need to know that we are paying attention and will hold them responsible for investing in our children’s future. Please sign the online version of the Washington Kids Can’t Wait Petition to help us pass 10,000 signatures by Friday, April 3rd. The petition asks lawmakers to: protect funding for Washington’s children and schools and redefine basic education to pay for what our children need to succeed in college, job training, work and life. (This petition is endorsed by the Washington State PTA.)"

Take action:

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.

House budget: http://leap.leg.wa.gov/leap/Budget/Detail/2009/ho0911summary_0331.pdf

Senate budget: http://leap.leg.wa.gov/leap/Budget/Detail/2009/so0911highlights_0330.pdf

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.


anonymous said…
I have seen the figure of 1 in 6 SPS graduates meet the requirements for a 4 year college, and that is startling.

I am curious though, why our colleges are so full? They are so very competetive, and won't even look at a student who hasn't taken AP classes? Where are they getting all of their students from?

Are the majority out of state students? Out of country?

Or are they the 50% of school age children in Seattle that go to private schools? I would imaging almost all of the private school kids meet the requirements for 4 year college?
Sue said…
I do have a question about the sixth period in high school and I-728 funding. When I look at the annual reports for the schools, it seems they are using the money to hire extra teachers. (at the high school level) Many elementaries use it for professional development and help with hiring teachers. This is great. I hate to see this money at risk.

But, where does the sixth period money come from, if it is not coming from I-728? Are we in danger of losing sixth period?

I also would perhaps like to see what Seattle would do, if truly forced to endure budget cuts. Would they finally cut the ultra generous transportation to any school, anywhere for free that exists now, and actually put that money in the classroom? I am not trying to inflame anyone, but I have to say, I see a lot of money spent on empty busses, and that is money that is not going to the classroom. Maybe it is time to make a choice.
Jet City mom said…
Colleges seem to have plenty of applicants but if the economy continues to be difficult, fewer students who are first generation college, will see college as a possibility, with costs rising.

What I have observed are many of the very talented Seattle students from both private and public schools, going out of state.
Once they attend colleges out of state, they often stay out. We are losing talent.

anonymous said…
The economy isn't hurting private schools very much. Our neighbor, who has an exceptionally bright, Spectrum qualified child, applied to three private schools and was only accepted by one. Of the other two, one put her on a waitlist (number 32), and the other said they had so many applicants that she didn't even make the waitlist.
hschinske said…
Surely we don't have 50% of kids in private school now? The last figure I heard was more like 25%. Though I would still like to see that broken down by how many kids are in private school for *some part* of their K-12 education: if the 25% means the percentage who are in private school at any given time, I suppose it could well be that only 50% have an entirely public-school education. I'm still convinced that the percentage of students who are in private school all the way through is quite small.

Helen Schinske
Jet City mom said…
Though I would still like to see that broken down by how many kids are in private school for *some part* of their K-12 education: if the 25% means the percentage who are in private school at any given time, I suppose it could well be that only 50% have an entirely public-school education.

This is probably true.
In my bookgroup of nine women- a somewhat diverse group for Seattle-three of us have kids who attended at least three years in private school, although upper elementary through high school was public.

While I have the least education out of the group ( everyone else has at least a BA) and have been bumped from "middle" class by the economy, oldest did attend private school through college graduation- through luck and generosity.

While I was fairly happy with the last few years of younger childs education, if I had known the blood sweat and tears that it was going to cost to have her continue in public school, I would have taken out loans to keep her in private.

Some things are worth more than money.
dan dempsey said…
Sandra Stotsky PhD. said:

We may best interpret the recent mushrooming of both privately and publicly financed tutorial programs (especially in mathematics), the phenomenal growth of home-schooling in the past two decades, and the ever-increasing number of public and private charter schools as forms of parental reaction to the bloated, distorted, or non-existent textbooks that their children now learn from in a haphazard, watered-down, and distorted curriculum. .....

To salvage a failing public school system, we need to remove de facto control of the content of the K-12 curriculum from education schools as soon as possible. We can remove their control over teacher training by transferring control of teacher preparation in core subjects and the content of these subjects to discipline-based experts at non-profit independent centers or institutes with principled intellectual and civic goals. We can also require educational textbook publishers to use these academic experts as senior authors or consultants for all school textbooks. Voices are beginning to call for the dissolution of our public school system—a logical result of the increasingly negative influence of education schools on the quality of the curriculum and instruction in it. That influence will continue until their direct control of educator preparation and indirect control of the content and pedagogy in school textbooks is removed.


In the SPS it looks like the parents desire their children to have an opportunity for collegiate success but the administration's recommendations often remove that possibility.

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