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Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Legislature Passes Budget; Where Does SPS Stand?

About increases for public education from the newly passed budget in the Washington Legislature.
District statement:
The Legislative session in Olympia ended on Sunday, April 28. Due to the Legislature’s actions, beginning in 2020, Seattle will be able to collect $3,000 per student from local, voter-approved funds. This will restore 12.2 million dollars directly to classrooms in the 2019-20 school year, with an estimated total increase in revenue of 16 million dollars and 28 million additional dollars to the district beginning with the 2020-21 school year. We want to thank the Seattle Legislative Delegation for their leadership on restoring this much needed local levy authority.

This restored revenue, along with increased flexibility to use capital funds for maintenance costs, will help us address some of the 40-million-dollar budget shortfall for school year 2019-20 and support restoration of the most critical supports for our students – our school-based staff.

Next year’s school-based cuts including librarians, counselors, and assistant principals, made due to the 2019-20 budget shortfall, will be restored. Other budget reductions, including those to central office, will move forward.
Special Education: The state’s Special Education budget increase is a down payment on a much-needed long term solution. Next year, Seattle Public Schools will receive an additional 2 million dollars for special education. Annually, the district spends 70 million dollars of local levy funds to provide the services our students need. While we appreciate the increase for Special Education, we continue to have grave concerns about the State’s slow pace in fully funding Special Education as is required by law. 

Capital budget: Thanks to the work of our legislative delegation, Seattle Public Schools received 18 million dollars for additional classroom construction at Leschi Elementary and Madison Middle Schools, and funding for HVAC system improvements at North Beach Elementary School in the state’s approved budget.
Education: This budget fulfills the bipartisan promise made by the Legislature to fund health care coverage for school employees through the School Employee Benefits Board (SEBB) program. This investment will cost $328 million in this budget and $837 million over four years.

From reader Kate in Belltown:

$155 million for additional special education funding ($294 million over four years).
$61 million for additional levy assistance for areas with low property values.
$12 million for paraeducator training.
$2.5 million additional funding for student mental health and safety.


Via Crosscut:
Legislative leaders ultimately struck a deal to pass the levy bill that involved stripping out the charter-school language. The compromise also meant adopting stricter accountability measures to try to ensure local levy money doesn't pay for basic education, which is the state's responsibility.
Here's the levy chart for districts.

From WPD Facebook page, reader Richard Pope:
SB 5313 is mainly beneficial to Seattle. They get to increase their local levy a few cents (like $0.55 to $0.61) and get $3,000 per student, instead of $2,500. Other property rich districts already at $2,500 per student don't get to increase at all (so no increase for Bellevue or Mercer Island). Districts presently raising less than $2,500 per student can raise their levy from $1.50 to $2.50. They don't get a penny more in state LEA (local effort assistance for levy equalization), only what they can raise locally. Yakima can only get about $300 per student more with a full $2.50 levy -- so they get to go from $1,500 to $1,800. Not sure why students in Yakima (83.1% minority) deserve to receive so much less funding (even with over four times the local levy rate $2.50 versus $0.61) than Seattle (52.9% minority) ... 
Via the Seattle Times:
For school districts with fewer than 40,000 full-time students, the bill would allow local levies at the lesser of $2.50 per $1,000 of assessed value or $2,500 per student, according to a news release by Senate Democrats.

For districts that exceed 40,000 full-time students, the legislation would allow levies at the lesser of $2.50 per $1,000 of assessed value or $3,000 per student.

Republicans opposed raising the levy caps. They argued that boosting the amount of money school districts could raise locally would set the state up for a return to court over education funding. 
Other bills that passed:
House Bill 1130: Lawmakers unanimously passed this bill to help families of students with disabilities who speak a language other than English. Under HB 1130, school districts must track each family’s preferred language and whether a qualified interpreter joined special education.

House Bill 1599: After years of trying, lawmakers nearly unanimously approved this legislation to eliminate a requirement that students pass high-stakes exams in order to graduate from high school. Under this law, districts have until 2021 to automatically enroll high schoolers in advanced courses depending on their performance in eighth grade.

Senate Bill 5023: In the Seattle school district, teachers have been working to create new curriculum on ethnic studies for preschool through 12th grade. SB 5023 would spread similar materials and resources for grades seven to 12 statewide, while an advisory committee studies how to expand those lessons to elementary schools.
Senate Bill 5324: With unanimous support in both the House and Senate, this bill charges every school to identify one person as responsible for identifying homeless students and connecting them with a district liaison. It also expands a grant program to encourage schools and housing authorities to work together to support homeless youth and students of color.
I note that under the City's plan for the FEPP levy, they seem to think that only SPS has homeless students (and they got the number wrong).  Charters should be just as responsible to serve ALL students as SPS.
Senate Bill 5689: In 2016, the state adopted new rules on health education to include lessons on gender identity and expression, including ways to show respect for all people. But SB 5689 would extend anti-bullying protections for transgender students in public schools, while prohibiting discrimination, harassment or intimidation on the basis of gender identity.
As well, the Legislature has now passed a law about using affirmative action in hiring and enrollment - how will that affect the district?  (I note that there is a movement for a referendum on this issue.)

13 comments:

Urban/Rural said...

Yakima Public Schools has 3 high schools (plus online HS and a skills center) and a total of about 23 schools and 16,000 students. I'm not saying they wouldn't benefit from more funding, but I don't think you can really compare the cost of educating 16,000 students in a rural area at a total of 23 schools with the cost of educating 50,000 students in an urban area at 100+ schools. Education just isn't 1-to-1 scalable like that. I'm sure we have way more costs for school buildings and transportation.

kellie said...

Thanks for this update.

It is important to remember that schools have received two primary forms of budget cuts this year.

1) cuts to the WSS.
2) cuts via "ultra conservative" enrollment projections.

At the budget work session, staff made it very clear that the board needed to reach consensus on the restoration priorities so that when the State budget was finalized the "additional expected funds" could be restored automatically. If they didn't reach consensus, then teacher cuts would move forward as it would be impossible to schedule a work session before the May 15 deadline.

Based on this announcement, it looks like the WSS cuts have been restored and hopefully this means many fewer teacher RIFs.

Does anyone have any update on the second set of budget cuts. By now, it is pretty clear that many schools post open enrollment information is significantly and substantially above the "ultra conservative projections." Staff stated that restoration via the enrollment budget cuts was simply too labor intensive to be completed before June.


Anonymous said...

So, if restoration via enrollment budget cuts is too "labor intensive" to be completed before June, then when, pray tell, will the district restore funding to match actual enrollment? If that's not happening until AFTER June, then won't some schools lose teachers that they, in fact, do not need to lose? How are schools supposed to manage this chaos?

Concerned parent

Anonymous said...

NOVA says it is still losing more teachers and is not on the restore list. Can anyone check that? If so, that seems as if it is not okay.
-FactCheckPlease

Anonymous said...

How is restoration via the enrollment budget cuts too time consuming? Isn't it essentially a matter of saying we predicted you'd have x and would lose y teachers, but now it looks like you'll actually have z so you're teacher cuts (or not) should be whatever instead.

Doing the initial predictions is probably reasonably difficult, but going back and adjusting those based on the actual enrollment data they have in hand should be pretty easy. Work a little overtime if needed--this is important (and saves others a lot of time in the end.)

make time

Melissa Westbrook said...

Make Time, what was said - repeatedly - is that the cuts in HR at JSCEE would make putting people back more time-consuming (hence the cuts at adm getting back first in order to do this other work for schools). I think that's weird but that's what was said.

Anonymous said...

Melissa - That statement (by JSCEE) is bizarre. They should have current enrollment data (wondering if anyone got it from FOIA and can share?). It should be very straightforward to update FTE calculations or their Finance department is a disaster.

NE Parent

kellie said...

The budget this year, seems nearly impossible to follow.

This petition states that Rainier Beach is scheduled to lose 4.8 educators.

https://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/804/742/319/


However, the documents presented at the board work session stated that RB was only to lose 2.2 staff and it was mentioned multiple times that Tier 1 and Tier 2 schools were being "held harmless". A reduction of 4.8 staff for a school of about 700 students is a huge hit. Does anyone have any insights?



RB Funding said...

Social Equity Educators says:

Due to the shortfalls in our district, and the district under-projecting Rainier Beach’s enrollment for the 7th year in a row (see graph below), we are having to let go of:

0.2 Art teacher position
1.0 Social Studies teacher
1.0 English Language Learner (ELL) Social Studies teacher
1.0 Math teacher
1.6 Literacy and Spanish support positions currently funded by the state IB grant.

http://socialequityeducators.org/2019/04/29/demand-equitable-funding-of-rainier-beach-high-school/

kellie said...

@ RB funding,

Do you have any insight as to why these cuts are so different from the cuts presented to the board during the budget work sessions?

I attended the meeting, and the funding for RB was a direct topic during the work session. Director Patu is always vigilant about SE schools. The presentation was very clear the RB was held harmless to WSS cuts due to its Tier 1 status and was only taking a small cut due to declining enrollment of 2.2 FTE.

As I stated. many times, the budget this year is almost impossible to follow and funding for RB is particularly opaque and troubling. Extra deep cuts were made at some schools in the name of preserving staff at RB. I agree with the policy to protect Tier 1 schools, but the flip side of that policy is that you actually need to deliver those protections, and per this petition, it appears those protection were not provided.

Anonymous said...

My guess is they are diverting funds from all the high schools under the "guise" of falling district enrollment to fund opening Lincoln High school. Remember they stated they are not hiring any new teachers, just moving them. This is also despite the fact the April enrollment shows an overall increase in high school enrollment. The April enrollment shows very little drop in enrollment as well for the super overcrowded high schools that were supposed to see large enrollment declines with the opening of Lincoln. They are cutting many more teachers despite maybe a 100 drop in student population. The last I heard they are still taking much heavier hits to avoid cuts from Tier 1 & Tier 2 schools.

parent

Anonymous said...

Regarding RB, remember that they had a recommendation to cut $400,000 from district IB programs no matter what the Levy outcome. This & more cuts moving forward at Ingraham may also be related to those cuts.

IB

Anonymous said...

I don’t think the positions RB Funding posted are different from the ones reported at the board work session. The work session only discussed general education positions and RB is losing 2.2 of those (.2 art, 1.0 SS and 1.0 math). The ELL position is based either on an expected reduction in ELL students at the school or a change in ELL staffing ratios.

Fairmount Parent