Sunday, May 03, 2015

Short and Sweet - What Will Seattle Schools Do with the McCleary Dollars?

The Legislature is Special Session and let's be frank - it's over McCleary (and, to a lesser extent, I-1351 which the Legislature seems to regard as one big headache that voters foisted on them). 

But, at the end of that Session, I believe there will be more money for public education.  I have not seen the analysis but I suspect it will be a good chunk of change.

Question is - what will districts do with those McCleary dollars?  Will OSPI tell them or will they just be allotted more dollars?

I thought about writing an extended piece on this issue and then thought, "Why?"  Because it should be pretty simple - put the money back into our schools. 

I'll try to be fair here.   Some of the money that is being spent at JSIS is for alignment, programs to support tracking how schools are doing and creating systems that work with schools and together across departments.  None of that will happen overnight and it's probably not cheap.

But as one commenter said elsewhere,
"Get the money out of John Stanford and put it back into the schools. 
That at least would be a start."

I'd go back a step further.  Restore those cuts that happened during the recession.  

After that, continue to drive money into schools.  Make sure that schools have what they need - in staff, in supplies, in maintenance.  

Most of all, give teachers the support they need.

Support for:
  • new Common Core curriculum alignment
  • new Common Core (SBAC) assessments
  • PD for ELL students
  • PD for Sped students
  • PD for social/emotional issues for students
Look at that list above.  And I'm not even sure that's everything.

I hope parents realize that teachers are NOT miracle workers even if Arne Duncan, ed reformers, and all the philanthropic folks want that to be so.  (Or maybe, as some think, the whole shebang of ed reform is just about breaking down the entire system, piece by piece.  You know, replace it with some new, shiny thing that will reflect the faces of those who set out to destroy it.)

So I ask - what will happen when those McCleary dollars start flowing?  Maybe that's what the Board should be considering at this weekend's Board retreat (not what is below).

Seattle School Board Retreat

Saturday, May 9, 2015, 9:00 am - 3:30 pm Auditorium, John Stanford Center

9:00 am  - Agenda Overview of the Training

9:15 am - The Threat to Elected Boards governance
9:45 am - The Rhetoric & Reality of Elected School Boards

10:15 am - Break

10:30 am - Balanced Governance
11:00 am - Board Standards 

Noon - Break & Lunch

12:30 pm - Board Standards
1:00 pm - Effective Individual Board Member Characteristics

2:00 pm - Break

2:15 pm - Avoiding Community Conflict Through Balanced Governance Roles Evaluation Tools

3:15 - ADJOURN


Anonymous said...

More money will mean my school will finally get enough computers to do the SBAC. Hooray! Maybe each and every child will also get a mouse to do the SBAC. Hooray!


Anonymous said...

Family support workers
IAs where needed
Library books
Art and Music for every school
Cost of living raises for staff, retroactively for last several years they haven't received it


Anonymous said...

We complain about wages that Walmart pays, but what about our own public schools? I'm not talking about teachers. What about IAs who basically live in poverty? Starting pay does at least meet the new minimum wage of $15/hr. But union dues, required insurance premiums take a huge bite and that really reduces the take home amount. IAs also are not even paid for their lunch. They are paid for a 7 1/2 hour day, but required to be there for 8. It all adds up to Wallmart wages for school staff, who need to live also.

Wall Mart

TechyMom said...

Longer school day with longer lunch and more recess. Paid playground and recess monitors. I think I read here that the school day was shortened in the 70s for budget reasons. Undo that.

Stop letting busses drive the schedule. Start all schools at 9am.

Counselors and nurses at every school.

Art and PE every day for every student.

Fund 7 periods of high school.

Watching said...

Elementary school counselors must be restored to the WSS. I've always wanted smaller class sizes, but I don't think that will happen in my life-time.

There are too many administrative projects at state and local levels to fund.

Seattle voters fund 25% of the district's operational and capital costs via a levy. I have to wonder: If McCleary is funded via a levy swap...will we have more dollars in
Seattle's classrooms?

Watching said...

We can add costs of federal administrative costs to the long list of expenditures, too.

Anonymous said...

-Counselors for all schools (0.5 FTE minimum for elementary schools, 1.0 FTE for high-need schools)
-Increase nurse FTE
-Return to 2-tier transportation
-Realistic teacher allocations that allow for year-long growth at our neighborhood schools.

A note about that last item. We've added at least 6 new students at my son's elementary school since Spring Break. Class sizes are creeping into the 30s at some grade levels. This is not acceptable, especially at a Title 1 school with inclusion SpEd, and ELL.

-North-end Mom

Anonymous said...

If HB2214 passes, money will be needed for schools to offer the 12th grade courses to students who do not pass the 11th grade SBAC tests (Math, ELA and eventually Science).

This is because the alternative assessment, (Collection of Evidence) is being eliminated and the costs are being passed down to the school districts in the form of what is called "transition classes" schools need to offer 12th graders who have not met any/all state standards.

HPSE and EOCs are being eliminated as soon as this Fall and 11th graders will be taking three SBACs in their place.

Read and comment, soon:


10th grade parent

Anonymous said...

Really important to understand the levy swap plan. Currently, through levy equalization, rich school districts like Seattle and Bellevue already send a chunk of their state portion of the property tax to poorer school districts. Under the Levy Swap Plan, that amount to the state will increase, but the amount local school levy can be raised will be capped. So Seattle which has relied on its local levies to make up for the lack of state shortfall will be hamstrung.

Here's a good explanation of the Levy a Swap Plan, from the Olympians:

"In general, two types of school districts would see their property taxes go up under the Republican plan: small rural districts that have low or nonexistent local levies, and wealthier districts with high property values — such as those in Seattle, the San Juan Islands and Bellevue — that are able to raise large amounts of money with low local levy rates under the current system.

Those districts won’t benefit much from how Dammeier’s plan reduces local levy rates down to $1.25 per $1,000 in assessed value, as their local levies may be close to or below the capped rate already. Instead, they’ll be hit mainly with the increase in the state property tax, with little or no decrease in their local levies to offset that tax hike."

Read more here: http://www.theolympian.com/2015/04/22/3690685_levy-swap-plan-would-boost-taxes.html?rh=1#storylink=cpy


Anonymous said...

Sorry, earlier post has typos. Also Last sentence of 1st paragraph should read, "So Seattle which has relied on its local levies to make up for state shortfall in the past will be hamstrung."

Levy equalization and levy swap is a partisan game played by each side to win concession and broker compromises on bills. As you can see levy equalization and levy swap help poorer, anti tax districts who tend to vote Republicans. Democrats are elected from richer districts.

Regardless, voters in richer, more democratic leaning districts are starting to revolt against higher tax as they see less meaningful returns and more bloated bureaucracies. The high cost of living has also squeezed many middle class families.


Lynn said...

This bill would change the graduation requirements for this year's juniors. The HSPEs they passed as sophomores would no longer qualify. That means that all of the juniors who opted out this year would have to wait until the SBAC test is offered in their senior year to find out if they'll be able to graduate.

On the whole issue of graduation - someone at a local community college pointed out recently (in the context of running start) that graduating from high school isn't actually necessary. For those who will earn an AA and then transfer to a four year school, passing the Compass test is all that is required. Doesn't that raise some interesting ideas? Why worry about PE waivers or taking health or four years of history (if that's not your thing)? I would like to see four year colleges look at this too. If a student has taken the courses the college requires for admission, high school graduation should not be necessary. It would be very satisfying to see the state lose the power of that particular threat.

I don't see why schools would need more money for the new 12th grade classes. Seniors would be enrolled in them instead of in whatever English or math course they would have originally taken.

Anonymous said...

Lynn, a high school diploma is not required even for entry into a four-year college or university. None of our state public baccalaureate institutions require a high school diploma to be admitted.

Now with this said, the likelihood of being admitted without a diploma is very, very small.

--- swk

Anonymous said...

10th grade parent, the HSPE (High School Proficiency Exam) has already been eliminated (although the results of this exam can be used for high school graduation through the class of 2014).

In other words, the state last administered the HSPE in 2013-14.

--- swk

Anonymous said...

Lynn-These are specific transition courses that districts need to develop - and that costs money.

10th grade parent

Lynn said...

Most qualified (by courses taken and test scores) applicants currently do have high school diplomas. Isn't that why the likelihood of being admitted without a diploma is small now? What would the likelihood of admittance be if the entire class of 2016 at Nathan Hale failed to graduate?

I am liking the idea of schools acting as provider of services to students rather than setting up roadblocks to their success.

Anonymous said...

Not completely true SKW.

Current 11th and 12th graders who have not previously passed the HSPE are able to retake this year.

Anonymous said...

Lynn, you said, "This bill would change the graduation requirements for this year's juniors. The HSPEs they passed as sophomores would no longer qualify. That means that all of the juniors who opted out this year would have to wait until the SBAC test is offered in their senior year to find out if they'll be able to graduate."

This is not accurate. HB 2214 would provide an exception to students in the class of 2016 who already passed the state assessments required for graduation to use those scores for graduation.

--- swk

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said, "Current 11th and 12th graders who have not previously passed the HSPE are able to retake this year."

This is a good clarification of my previous statement. The state will provide the HSPE as a retake for 11th and 12th graders this year and for 12th graders next year.

--- swk

Anonymous said...

I see the Class of 2017 potentially impacted as the Math EOCs they have taken or getting ready to take will be tossed and they will assessed with math SBAC next year.

If they fail it, then they will be required to take a math class in 12th grade that is a level above their last passed math class. So, if a student last math is Alg 2, and they fail the math SBAC, then they will need the next higher math class in 12th grade and earn a B or better to meet the state math standard.

Unclear about the EOC Biology, I believe they are removing the requirement to pass it until the Science SBAC is implemented.

For ELA SBAC - I believe these are the transition classes that school have to offer 12th graders who fail the SBAC in 11th grade.

If bill passes, that is.

10th grade parent

Watcing said...

"Really important to understand the levy swap plan. Currently, through levy equalization, rich school districts like Seattle and Bellevue already send a chunk of their state portion of the property tax to poorer school districts. Under the Levy Swap Plan, that amount to the state will increase, but the amount local school levy can be raised will be capped. So Seattle which has relied on its local levies to make up for the lack of state shortfall will be hamstrung. "

Exactly. I've seen that property taxes may increase $1.20 per $1000 of assessed property value. These dollars can go outside of Seattle and our levy capacity will be limited. We need to see actual numbers. As I said, I'm not hopeful.

Watching said...

My last point: It is important to remember that Seattle's representatives make-up a small portion of those in Olympia. Seems many state representatives would support a levy swap.

Carlyle has often complained that Seattle only keeps a small portion of generated revenue.

Anonymous said...

The board governance thing is past its expiration date. How many times are they going to have the same meeting. These people won't even be a team in a few months.

Where's the oversight of the existing academic programs for our kids and the collaboration for new ones? Does anyone actually think the state of SPS academics is in a good place? And that's before we get to the oversight and planning of capital expenditures. Give us a )@#*@*&# plan for high school capacity.

I'd like to wring the neck of whoever created this agenda. I'd like to wring the neck of every single board member who agreed to it.

PS. Nyland's halfway through his promised tenure, right. Succession planning NOW instead of via fire drill. Ya think? Oh, apparently they do not think.


Anonymous said...

Seattle loses in a levy swap plan. Loses in a big way. Sure, let's educate all the state's kids. But no way as part of the plan should we willingly hamstring this district's ability to fund education dollars. The citizens of other cities and counties don't want to support public ed? Live with the results and quitchabellyachin. When Seattle is adequately educating its own, which it's not, then we can talk levy swap.

But to send more of Seattle's dollars to the state, which will fairly distribute them throughout WA, and by the way Seattle can't set its own education levy amounts anymore? What a complete farce of a plan.


Anonymous said...

Another billion a year for schools, what is the best way to raise that money at the state level?
Sales tax
Property tax
Income tax
any ideas?


No Thanks said...

Dow Constantine is getting ready to ask King County voters to approve prek for the county. Seattle just voted "yes" for Burgess's Cadillac prek plan that is chocked-full of multi layers of federal, state, city and district administrators, and subsidizes families making over $100K.

Check your property value on Zillow. There has just been a big increase in our property value and we'll be paying additional taxes.

No Thanks said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

The levy swap mechanics are very complex.

As I understand it, municipalities who DON'T pass their levies do NOT get to take dollars from the 'pool'. Is that right?

It would seem like robbery if they got to not tax themselves BUT siphon off of other Ed-voting places who do vote to self-tax in order to support their city's children.

Are other 'categories' also siphoned via a similar swap mechanism?

So if a park levy or firehouse levy or library levy comes along, is the state mechanism to always siphon off the top and redirect to poorer counties? If not, then how is it justified to fo this only in the case of education?

Taxing non-productive assets (eg., one's home) is not good policy. Really, a simple and just state-wide income tax and no or minimal property tax seems much more rational and fair. Ah, but Republicsns will never allow that, so we are stuck cobbling together what we can.

Levy swap?

dan dempsey said...

I am really confused....
Let us consider what the State Constitution actually requires.
How would that requirement be met?

Melissa wrote "put the money into schools" ... BUT then followed with support for Common Core curriculum alignment and support for SBAC testing.

I see dumping the money to vendors rather than into teachers and proven teaching approaches as an absurd use of funds.

To improve a system requires the intelligent application of relevant data..... Throwing money into unproven unpiloted rat holes will make vendors really happy but do very little for students.

Anonymous said...

Places to look for dollars include closing tax loopholes now that state economy is swinging again, capital gains, and tweak levy equalization to bring Mccleary dollars in. Yes, that means our 2 parties need to get in the pit and go fight club mode. And speaking of fight club mode, Seattle MUST implement impact fees. It's ridiculous that property developers and sports team owners aren't paying more for all the infrastructure their projects required. Taxpayers are subsidizing so much on their behalf so if you want to talk about Seattle welfare queens dining on lobsters and driving Land Rovers and Teslas, look no further.

Why impact fees? Because so much of our local property tax goes to support road, utilities upgrade, basic city infrastructure, transit such as the trolley, buses, Sound Transit, and Downtown development alongside ever bloated bureaucracies! Bellevue collects impact fees and it's doing just fine. Seattle taxpayers are weary, thus making it that much more difficult to go to the voters again for another huge levy to support Seattle schools (or the rest of the state).

(BTW, CCA and wall mart, your lists are spot on)

dan dempsey said...

Kristoff recently had a column in the NY Times about some educational deficiencies....

Recently a few comments were posted in the NY Times.

Should not the use of additional funds be aimed at increasing educational competency in the students?

I just do not see Common Core and SBAC as actual solutions to current difficulties.

NY Times comments here.

Anonymous said...

I find the idea of a levy swap plan so frustrating. I love the idea of taxing the rich to give to the poor, but I mean the literal rich. Not a sort of relatively wealthy urban school district with the extra burden of state underfunding and special affects of urban poverty to deal with to give to sometimes relatively poor rural districts. I agree we are reaching an inflection point in Seattle's ability to tax itself.

Actual rich people, people who have benefited more from the system as is and so should pay in more. Income tax. The only way we will ever solve this is an income tax. But I admit I am a little surprised not to see support for levy swaps here. It's the same idea as pooling pta money, isn't it? Which I'm also against, and for slightly similar reasons- what we actually need is not robbing Peter to pay Paul in terms of strapped school versus slightly less strapped school, but actual funding from the state so that ptas go back to paying for after school underwater basketweaving club instead of MATH. And I also don't think the dollars will be there with pooling- either in the case of ptas (people's donation choices will change, because right now they are motivated to donate to their local school for a need they see- they will not donate to an abstract fund for other schools, any more than they do now) or cities (people will vote to help their citizens, but not generally to just send money out to neighboring districts.).


Anonymous said...

What's the total taxable property value in WA? 1 Trillion? Anyone know?

If the 1351 goes through, then I would estimate the state has to build 4,000 new classrooms, worth about 4 Billion dollars. Whether the districts vote to pay for them is another matter. I guess that is constitutionally a district responsibility to house them and not the states.

Still that will take a lot of local levy money to put a roof over the head of 1351, so a state property tax in addition to that to pay salaries?


Anonymous said...

Sleeper, we are already doing that with current levy equalization. Rich school districts already send their state taxes to poorer districts. Rich districts can offset that "generosity" by voting for local school levies to fund local schools. Poorer districts (or anti tax districts)can't generate enough dollars or don't have the votes to pass their local levy (takes 60% to pass).

It's complicated and the process and info not made transparent (deliberately). But you need to research and inform yourselves just as you would about math curriculum or sleep benefits for teens. And I don't mean just over school funding, but about all the taxes you pay and what comes out of city hall and city council. There's a lot of waste as well. But that's another story.


Anonymous said...

Wait, no! Not give the teachers the support they need. Give the STUDENTS the support they need. What do they really need, SBAC prep? Nope. How much professional development does a teacher need for special education, how often, what kind? I think answering those questions is why most professional development has failed so far. Including and supporting a child with physical disabilities is very different than visual, cognitive, speech, behavioral, and then dyslexia, dysgraphia, etc and with any of those, there can be a wide spectrum from mild to severe. Most teachers will not come across each type, each year, but also shouldn't really need retraining every year. We've looked at a lot of schools and the difference in how it looked like my kid would be included and supported had little to nothing to do with training and everything to do with attitude and using common sense vs worrying about $ and minutes.

Let's give kids IAs in lower grades - in each classroom since we clearly have no room to do lower class sizes. Let's make sure schools have counselors. Let's make sure schools have nurses (by the way, making sure that some kids with special needs/504s can actually attend their local school instead of being sent off elsewhere). Let's make sure schools have text books, art/music in each school and PE daily in the lower grades. Let's also make sure high school gets a 7 period day so that kids can explore a variety of areas AND pursue education across English, math, science, social studies and a foreign language plus the mandatory extras. They'll be better prepared for college and life.

NE Parent

Anonymous said...

I know where we are now, Voter, and find equalization fairer than the proposal for levy swap, though what I was talking about is the insufficiency of both as a substitute for income tax. The cap is the big problem, which is also proposed in PTA money pooling schemes. I think where we are now has also increased to us reaching the end of our taxing ability too quickly, but that is a separate point.

Respectfully, disagreeing with you slightly is not quite the same as not being informed.


mirmac1 said...

Re: the Board Retreat

Sherry Carr finally gets to be president of the school board, and THIS is her legacy: board training on governance. What a &^%$%$#@! waste!

Watching said...

Charter schools are REALLY wanting access to Seattle's levy dollars, which make up 25% of our funding. It is interesting to consider the impact of a levy swap on charter schools in Seattle.

The Supreme Court hasn't ruled whether or not charter schools are Constitutional, but the movement and funding are plowing forward.

I'd also like to know the costs of Carr's retreat.

Olympia is fighting over a couple hundred million dollars generated by marijuana sales. The Republicans want the funding to go into education and the dems want those dollars in mental health. When marijuana was legalized the dollars were intended to go into mental health.

Frankly, I'd prefer marijuana dollars to go to mental health. Mental health and poor educational outcomes are connected. Besides the education system is great at wasteful spending.

...AND we still have Murray/ Burgess and others thinking we can have prek for All and fund prek teachers on scale with K-12. Good luck.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Dan, I am surely not for Common Core or SBAC. But if they ARE being used, then teachers need the support for them.

Yes, I, too, wonder about the costs for whoever is facilitating the retreat this Saturday.

Patrick said...

To the ed reformers, governance means them telling everybody what to do and everybody doing it.

Anonymous said...

No worries sleeper. My 2nd paragraph, which was unclear, wasn't aimed at you, but the general readers. I don't have a thing against state income tax. But I'm practical. To pass this even among the usual democrats, this state needs to redo its tax structure alongside local government's. You need to offset income tax with lower sales tax, property tax, utility taxes, gas tax, and add transparency, efficiency and accountability-especially pertaining to what get covered from general budget vs. dollars from levies/referendum.

Just think of all the levies we passed. Did I want Family & Ed levy to go for an experiment preK program vs. filling the wish list of CCA and wall mart? I prefer the latter. I would like our preK teachers and workers be better paid and trained. That would have been a better investment and covered more children. And less redundancy.

How about the last Parks & Rec levy (not the taxing Parks district) which went to buying and building small parklets -some in places where locals didn't want or need. But nothing went to maintenance and renovationof of pre-existing parks and facilities. So next time you use Golden Garden or Seward Park dark, falling apart, and smelly bathrooms, ask yourselves why? Or laying streetcar or Sound transit tracks with bike lanes and cars. How brilliant is that? Great for ambulance chasers.

I just don't think Seattle city council and city hall want to give up their coziness with big developers and billionaires' venture anymore than hardcore red counties are going to give up their guns for more taxes;) For the career politicians and civil servants, there's too much too lose. Think of the prestige, fulfilled ambition, power, FT employment even if they have to switch title every few years. Hey maybe a governorship, a senate seat, a cushy job at UW or the Port or SPS or more money for their non-profits. They don't even have to do their job well because it's clear there's no institutional accountability. Do you have to wonder why SPS leadership is the way it is.

I believe in taxation. But it's time to ask hard questions at where the money is going and is it being spent wisely. (Dan tried to do that.)There's a lot of cronyism in our fair city, not just among ed reformers. Is it a wonder they flock together?


Melissa Westbrook said...

Voter, agreed.

As I have written previously, we have the Mayor's eye-popping $900M transportation levy coming in November as well as Constantine's more modes $65M(?) birth to 5 initiative.

I'm with you. I agree these are good things but is the money going to the best places? Is Constantine's initiative going to compete or overlap or compliment the City's new preschool venture?

I don't want to just blindly vote yes or encourage anyone else to unless I clearly understand the facts.

More said...

Yes, Sally Clark left the City Council and got a job at the UW for $150K per year plus benefits.

The mayor will also be asking Seattle voters to fund police. Of course, he leaves public safety for last and BERTHA sits in a giant hole costing millions.

dan dempsey said...

My thoughts on Marijuana dollars and associated taxes.

Back in the day, Norm Stamper argued for the legalization of marijuana to drive down or eliminate illegal drug sales. The Economist magazine took a similar stance as Norm Stamper. Our politicians are currently taxing "legal" weed at such a high rate that the black market is unaffected.

Before US income tax, the Feds relied on Alcohol taxes to fund a large portion of government. When income tax came in then Prohibition was possible as the alcohol taxes were not as important.

I would support a state income tax.... if so many other taxes could be reduced or eliminated.

#1 Lower the weed tax ... to levels that will eliminate illegal sales. Let folks grow their own untaxed weed.

-- Note I am not a user of marijuana and do not intend to start.

Anonymous said...

When income tax is proposed, it is always with a proposal for lowering other taxes, in particular our regressive sales tax system. That's not a sigh, oh well, wish we could do it but that means it will never happen problem, the idea that they would have to reform the tax system. This is what serious people do when they propose an income tax. This last one proposed lowering the sales tax to 5%. Almost every other state in the nation has an income tax, and those states are also run by the same sorts of wasteful politicians we have here. The difference is lower middle class families get less hammered by a regressive revenue stream for the state when it needs more money, and the revenue stream is much more stable.

I think some of the choices in Voter's list are Sophie's choices. Our city has the second highest median income in the country. After San Jose. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2015/03/23/middle-class-varies-from-30000-in-detroit-to-100000-in-san-francisco/ Parklets should not be out of reach. To the extent they are we are doing it wrong.


Anonymous said...

Looking at HB 2214,
"Algebra I EOC
Geometry EOC
11th Grade
Mathematics (SBAC)"

Is that even right? I thought everyone had to pass Algebra and Geometry.

Lynn said...

The graduation requirement has been three math credits (including Algebra and Geometry) plus either the Algebra or Geometry EOC exam.

n said...

This thread has been an awesome read. I always agree with Dan. As for levy swaps, thanks for clarification. And the lists of needs and wants, right on.

You think bureaucrats in Olympia will rewrite the tax code? Or that red counties will ever give up the gravy train? Ain't going to happen.

So we must do what we can: Get the money out of our own local bureaucracy. We have a lot better chance of doing that than anything else I can think of. And if we lose an overpaid mentally-retired superintendent, so be it. Wouldn't it be nice if he took a gang of other bureaucrats with him?

And I, too, would rather see that marijuana money go to mental health.

I know, not going to happen. But I can dream, can't I?

One more question for you smart people: I read once on this blog that TRI money was to equalize pay E WA and W WA. I always thought TRI was to pay us for all the extra hours we put in. Can anyone clarify what generates TRI money? Does E WA get TRI money? I found their base pay on line and it is commensurate with my base pay. Base does not include TRI. There ought to be compensation for those of us living in high-cost-of-living areas. Taxes on my home went up over $100 a month for next year. That's hard on a single income.

Thom Hartmann doesn't believe in property taxes. He says that private property is a Constitutional right. As long as we have property taxes, the government actually owns our property because they can take our property if we fail to pay them. Between the government, the banks, and Comcast, you can't win these days.

TechyMom said...

I wonder... Could the state allocate the money in ways that soul prevent it getting sucked into strategic initiatives? For example, allocate $X million for 7 high school periods, $Y million for elementary counselors, $Z million to lengthen the school day by 30 minutes and increase teacher pay accordingly, $Q million for playground monitors, etc.?

dan dempsey said...

About TRI money...

For a long time there was no statewide teachers salary schedule and the larger districts generally paid significantly higher wages than the small ones. The teachers salary schedule was phased in around 1980 over about 3 years. During this time higher paying districts did not raise contracted salary schedule while lower paying ones caught up with raises to salary schedule.

This created a situation where it became a better deal to teach in the small (lower cost of living) districts than the large (higher cost of living) districts.

TRI was eventually put in place to give high cost of living districts a way to raise salaries above the state salary schedule.

TRI monies came out of district funds not from the state.

By 2000 in Western WA the Nisqually river was a TRI dividing line with nearly every district in Pierce and King counties paying for TRI hours and none in Thurston County paying TRI.

Even with TRI if a 2-parent one earner large family compared the situation, the smaller non-Tri districts in Eastern WA were much more affordable than most TRI Western WA districts primarily because of housing costs.

Difference recently between top of salary schedule jobs exceeds $20,000 per annum between some TRI districts and state salary schedule districts.

The above is from memory and may have errors. If someone knows better please correct.

Melissa Westbrook said...

I would not think the state could specify anything districts could do with more per student allotment dollars but I just don't know.

Watching said...


The state does allocate dollars for counselors, but the dollars wouldn't support full time counselors in every school.

We're looking at local control issues. The state budgets for expenditures, but the district is free to spend the dollars as they see fit. Last check, the state provides dollars for family outreach, but the district's expenditures go beyond state allocation.

The state isn't paying for 6 periods of high school per day and the state's capital funding formula hasn't been updated since 1985.

Lynn said...

The state could require funds to be spent on particular items. Initiative 1351 did this - the money would only be allocated to districts that actually hired additional certificated teachers. (Where building capacity doesn't allow more classrooms, they can be hired to support classroom teachers for example as math or reading specialists.)

n said...

Thanks Dan. The only piece of information I can add is that at one time in the late nineties I think, those of us in elementary were required to record our extra hours to show we had earned our TRI money in case we were audited. Of course we never were and had we been, I'm not sure most of us were keeping track although our voluminous after-hours were often logged at the school.

Now TRI seems to be connected with District-imposed after-hours work called TRI days. I think that's when some of your PD gets done, Melissa. Honestly, I'd just like some planning time in the classroom. I think that is the biggest desire on the part of most elementary teachers - time to plan.

n said...

Perhaps the imbalance in cost-of-living generated the decision to give us money but we still had to show that we earned it? Go figure.

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