Tuesday, April 19, 2016

On the Upside of McCleary....

The "Education Funding Task Force" set up by the legislature to plan for a plan for fully funding schools starts its work tomorrow.  But would I want to go to this meeting?  Nah.

  1. Introductions.
  2. Overview of requirements of E2SSB 6195.
  3. Administration of the Education Funding Task Force (EFTF).
  4. Washington State Institute for Public Policy update on Request For Proposal for an independent consultant.
  5. Briefing by the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction: Current school district reporting and accounting procedures.
  6. Discussion of briefings requested by the EFTF members.
  7. Scheduling future meetings. 
I'm pretty sure most people know each other by now.  They want a consultant; no surprise there.  State Superintendent?  Dorn has been more than clear on his position but as long as he has them all in one room, why not say it again?

“I urge the Supreme Court to take a hard line. The sanctions the Court has in place now obviously haven’t gotten the Legislature’s attention,” Dorn said in a March 29 statement. “I’d like the Court to establish a firm date by which full funding must be complete. Until that time, our students will stay on hold. And that is never acceptable.”
I had to seek it out but here are the members of the committee:

·         Senator Andy Billig
·         Senator John Braun
·         Representative Kristine Lytton
·         Representative Chad Magendanz
·         Senator Ann Rivers
·         Senator Christine Rolfes
·         Representative Norma Smith
·         Representative Pat Sullivan
·         Matt Steuerwalt, Executive Dir. of Policy - Office of the Governor

Some ed reformers and, as well, I personally think anyone who served on the Governor's initial committee shouldn't be on this one as well.   I think fresh thinking for this work would have been better. 

The Everett Herald covers this story.  
Justices will soon consider whether to lift the contempt order in response to the commitment of legislators, through the task force, to act next year to ensure the McCleary deadlines are met.
Those who sued the state think lawmakers haven’t done enough to get rid of the contempt and want tougher sanctions imposed. They argued in court papers last year that justices could axe tax breaks to generate money or invalidate school funding statutes which would prevent schools from opening.

Edmonds Superintendent Nick Brossoit said no one wants schools closed, but without the threat of such a dire consequence lawmakers may never act. 

“They don’t have the political will to address it,” he said. “It is going to take something dramatic to force some action.”
The leader of the Washington State School Directors Association said in spite of the consternation many trustees feel toward the Legislature, shuttering schools is too draconian.

“I know we’re all very skeptical,” said Alan Burke, executive director of the organization. “There is a process. We may not like it completely but I think we have to have the 2016 and 2017 schools years start on time.”

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