Legislative Special Session Today

Here's what may be happening in K-12 funding:

Class size reduction for current year eliminated; schools would lose payments mid-year. Federal "Edu jobs" money absorbed into current state budget.

HB 3225 summary
HB 3225 bill
Both House and Senate Ways and Means committees will meet Saturday morning; members are expected to move to floor around noon.

View via TVW
Contact your legislator.

In addition to millions in administrative reductions, cuts include:
$51 million in across-the-board cuts to state universities
$39 million to eliminate K-4 class-size enhancement
$9.1 million in planned K-12 education reform activities
$27.7 million in Basic Health Plan (freezes coverage and lowers enrollment as people drop off the plan)

That federal "edu-jobs" money was to keep teachers in classrooms; it will likely get absorbed into the state's General Fund to off-set cuts throughout the system.


Lori said…
Anyone know what this means in "plain language" - that is, how is loss of some state money mid-year going to affect classrooms in Seattle come January?

I prefer to include specifics when I contact my legislators, so knowing what this actually means would allow all of us to develop more persuasive arguments.
Lori said…
actually, it's probably already too late to contact them since the session is happening now. But I'd still like to know what the ramifications are.
Kathy said…
Would like to know more about $9.1 from "Reform Efforts".

Wonder original allocation to Reform Efforts.

Reform efforts can inlude research and evaluation, linking student test scores to teacher performance, merit pay, testing materials etc.
What I can say is I hope that you all tell the Board and the Superintendent that the supplemental levy MUST go to the classroom. If other strategic plan initiatives have to pause or slow down, so be it.

Teachers, would you be better off with the teacher evaluation process or money in your classroom?

I get that kids can't wait but they shouldn't suffer either. Our economy is going to turn around and I can't see slash and burn when our district got an infusion of money from voters AND it was more than they said they needed to close the gap.

It's your money.
Kathy said…
Don't forget the district obtained $12.5M TIF, $9M Fed. dollars and
$48M Levy dollars.

Last time I checked, $69M was a significant sum of money.

There will be state cuts, but it is important to remember we were just awarded $69M.

Allocation of dollars is a different story.
Sahila said…
Melissa - the economy is not going to turn around, at least not for several years...

Gloomy Economic Outlook dated Oct 5 2010
Eric B said…
In plain language as I understand it, after January 1, the state will give school districts about $39 million less than they said they would. Since the districts have obviously started the year with their budget, they're going to have two unpleasant choices: cut teachers and consolidate classrooms in the middle of the year or dip into their reserves.

If I'm wrong, please correct me.
dan dempsey said…
So I think it would be wise to increase the percentage of the allotted funds for k-12 education to classrooms.

As most Seattle students are more in need of remedial services than requiring more credits to graduate CORE 24 should not be funded. Currently students can take 24 credits if they so desire, so what is the point in mandating more credits for high school graduation when funding is restricted?

The adoption of the CCSS .. Common Core Standards will be expensive, remove all local control, for the next big unproven and for Washington unfunded experiment on children. {No "Race to the Top" extortion money for WA State}

No Thanks to CCSS and CORE 24. With so many cuts in so many areas neither of the above two expenditures are justified.
dan dempsey said…
Also about that economic turn around..


From Los Angeles to Atlantic City, the New Jersey gambling resort whose credit rating Moody’s Investors Service cut by three levels last month, property owners are demanding lower taxes after real-estate values plunged. The disputes over billions in dollars come as municipalities are already slashing services such as police and fire protection and may depress revenue further as communities try to recover from the longest recession since the 1930s. In Michigan, Governor-elect Rick Snyder has warned that hundreds of towns face financial crises.

“We’re just getting swamped,” said Halm, 54, who was appointed in 2003. “We’re constantly buying new file cabinets to hold all the cases. We even have six surplus file cabinets in the courtroom.”

U.S. home prices are 30 percent below their peak of April 2006, according to the seasonally adjusted S&P/Case-Shiller index of property values in 20 cities. They may drop 10 percent more, Greg Lippmann, a founder of New York-based LibreMax Capital LLC, said Dec. 2 at the Hedge Funds New York Conference hosted by Bloomberg Link.

Appeals Upon Appeals

Meanwhile, the Moody’s/REAL Commercial Property Price Index of U.S. commercial property is 43 percent below its October 2007 peak.

“If we look into the future, assessments will have to reflect the market value, and two years out, property-tax receipts will have to be coming down,” Michael Pagano, dean of the College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs at the University of Illinois at Chicago, said in a telephone interview. “If the appeals are largely successful, they will generate a lot more appeals.”


Municipal budgets “tend to lag economic conditions” by 18 months to several years, according to a National League of Cities report in October that Pagano co-wrote.

The full weight of the decline in housing values has yet to hit the budgets of many cities and property tax revenues will likely decline further in 2011 and 2012,” the report said.

Already Struggling

Douglas Roberts, Michigan’s former treasurer, said in a telephone interview from East Lansing that the impact of property-tax appeals “could be significant” because cities are already struggling with rising pension and health-care costs and declining revenue.

Settlements are likely to increase across the state through 2013 as the backlog is worked through, compounding other revenue shortfalls, Daddow said.

“In some of these instances, probably most of them, local governmental units have not been setting money aside for this,” Daddow said. “That will be huge. That will be another big headache coming down the pike.”

Complete article:
Tax Appeals Swamp U.S. Cities, Towns as Property Prices Plunge

By Jeff Green and Tim Jones - Dec 8, 2010 10:34 AM ET
hschinske said…
$9.1 million in planned K-12 education reform activities

OK, is there any chance that bit could be at least partly a GOOD thing?

Helen Schinske
dan dempsey said…

WA has about a million kids so I am not sure how $9/kid will be spent. It could be good.

Hopefully not more professional development. Bergeson spent $30 million on Professional Development for teacher training in using the New Math Standards, which were quite readable.

-- Dan
dan dempsey said…
Statement by Supt. Randy Dorn on Alliance Lawsuit

OLYMPIA - December 9, 2010 -

The Washington state Supreme Court issued its ruling today on School Districts’ Alliance for Adequate Funding of Special Education v. State. The Court affirmed the Court of Appeals ruling that the Alliance should have included the basic education allocation when calculating whether the state underfunds special education. “When the BEA is included, the Alliance has not proved beyond a reasonable doubt that the State underfunds special education,” the Supreme Court stated.

The real issue regarding education funding is whether it is amply funded.

We know it is not. In February, the King County Superior Court, in the McCleary case, ruled that the state isn’t living up to its constitutional duty to amply fund education. That case is where the real debate lies. When the state amply funds education, all students, including those who receive special education services, will benefit.
hschinske said…
True, $9 a kid isn't a lot. But the point was that reform is getting cut at least a teeny bit, which given that most of what they've been calling "reform" lately is misguided, seems like a good thing.

The cuts to Basic Health and such are horrific, though.

Helen Schinske
Kathy said…

I share your sentiment.

Don't forget the Supplemental Levy was intended to pay for non-sustainable initiatives.
seattle citizen said…
Soooo....how does Washington State appropriate the 200 million federal education stimulus dollars? I think I read in the Oregonian that the money that was given to Washington to provide education jobs is being put into Washington's general fund. Somebody PLEASE tell me I'm wrong.
Kathy said…
Here is what R. Carlyle had to say:

‎"In Seattle it will result in about 58 teachers in K-3 being laid off next year if the school district’s reserves and local dollars aren’t used to backfill the state reduction".

Seattle voters awarded SPS $48M via the Supplemental Levy. The question becomes- Will SPS finance non-sustainable and controversial Ed. Reform Initiatives and blame the state for cutting teachers? Or, Will SPS keep teachers in the classrooms? Perhaps Bill Gates should pay for his own social experimentation and leave tax payer dollars alone. If SPS actually collected Pay for K- the district could easily make up for declining state revenues.
Charlie Mas said…
The supplemental levy is for $48 million, but that's over three years. The annual amount is only $16 million.

If the State cuts the funding by $39 million per year, even if all of the supplemental levy money is spent to fill that gap the District will still be $23 million short each year.
Lori said…
Carlyle's entire post is worth reading. Like him, I also read Goldy's blog and learned quite a bit recently about how levy equalization works in the state.

Basically, property-poor counties get a disproportionately large share of state money to fund education because they don't have a sufficient tax base. On the other hand, property-rich districts, like Seattle, subsidize those districts. We only get $0.37 back from the state for education for every dollar we send to Olympia (according to Carlyle).

The irony isn't lost on Carlyle, who reports that Seattle tends to vote for taxes while other districts consistently vote against taxing themselves, and now we have a fiscal mess, and it is Seattle's money that is supporting the districts who don't believe in funding government.

The whole thing is so frustrating, then add on top of it that we have a central administration that can't even handle pay-for-K after demanding that it be centralized...

Read the whole post here:
Carlyle's 12/12 Post

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