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Basic Ed Funding 4 Page Overview1

Basic Ed Funding 4 Page Overview1

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Published by Brooke Valentine

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Published by: Brooke Valentine on Feb 06, 2009
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Basic Ed Funding 
A Model Schools Approach 1
Rep. Ross Hunter, Rep. Skip Priest, Rep. Pat Sullivan,Rep. Fred Jarrett, Rep. Glenn Anderson, Sen. Rodney Tom October 2008
The purpose of this document is to propose a new modelfor financing what the Legislature and the Courts
describe as “Basic Education” – 
the opportunity provided
 by Washington’s public
schools for all students to meetthe established student learning goals, and the obligationof the State under Article IX, Section 1 of the StateConstitution to make ample provision for that educationalopportunity.The proposal starts with the expectations we have for ourchildren: they should receive an education that preparesthem to succeed in the 21
century. The State Board of Education recently proposed a new set of graduationrequirements (Core 24) that, if accomplished byWashington students, will ensure they are so prepared.Core 24 provides multiple pathways for all students,whether that leads them to a four-year college,community or technical college, apprenticeship program,or directly into the first step of a career ladder in theworkforce. The State Board recognized that schoolscannot be expected to provide the necessary creditswithout adequate funding for the additional time required.This proposal provides that funding by figuring out thecost of a prototype school where there is enough time ontask to meet the credit expectations. The proposal alsoprovides the other resources necessary for a qualityprogram.Flexibility for school districts to address the unique needsof their students is respected. Over the years manyprograms have been created that have substantialreporting and implementation strings attached to them.Individually these are not bad ideas, but the overall resulthas been a complex and expensive- to- administer system.
This proposal builds “model schools” to c
ompute thelevel of funding needed by a district to provide a set of services a reasonable person would believe necessary toimplement a basic education, but does not require thedistrict to implement that exact program.
Districts are free to allocate the resources to bestaccommodate local conditions, but the new accountabilityand accounting system requirements will ensure that bothimplementation and results are clearly transparent to localvoters. Should their students not make progress towardsgraduation comparable to other districts, districts willface increasing levels of intervention from the state aswell as increasing censure from local voters.
It’s important to note that the charge of our Task Force is
to design a financing system, not to make all policydecisions about education. We have tried very carefullyto focus on providing adequate resources for schools toaccomplish the goals before them and not on directinghow school boards and educators achieve these goals.School boards should set local goals reflecting theircommunities, and educators should exercise theirprofessional judgment, but both should be accountable toparents, taxpayers, and the Legislature.
Addressing the Achievement Gap
One of the most pernicious failings in education is thedivergence in educational attainment between children of modest means and those with more money. Poor kidstend to lag behind while children of more advantagedparents do much better. Our ability to address thisdisparity requires much more than just funding, butchanging this dynamic is crucial in designing a qualityschool funding system. One of the key elements of thisproposal is the level of support provided to disadvantagedstudents to allow them to catch up - to reduce theachievement gap with their more advantaged peers.
Program of Education
This proposal is structured around the services weprovide to students, with a model that allows the costs of these services to be computed and funded. There shouldbe a direct link between the level of service provided andthe budget.
The structure of this funding model ispossibly more important than the exact level of funding initially provided.
By funding services ratherthan providing a block of funds, the Legislature is forced
Basic Ed Funding 
A Model Schools Approach
to make decisions about service levels, not just fundinglevels.
Quality Teaching
A competent education depends on more than just timeon task.
Educational research provides a clearindication that teaching quality is the most criticalelement of student success.
Unfortunately, our currentsystem of educator preparation and compensation doesnot support continual improvement in teaching quality.We propose a new system with several key elements:competitive compensation to attract top-quality recruits toteaching, significant gains in compensation tied to growthin professional competence, incentives for teaching inhard- to-staff areas or schools, and a building-basedreward program to provide recognition for the growth inacademic achievement in the school. This would be basedon a multi-factor evaluation.
The Constitutional requirement for a general and uniformsystem of public education leads us to focus on providingequivalent educational opportunity to all children. Thismay not result in equal funding for every child due todifferences in need, but we strongly believe (as do theCourts) that there should be a rational basis for anydifferences in funding between districts.
In addition toproviding funding for the demographic differencesbetween individual children and schools, our proposalremoves the most obvious differences in our currentsystem that do not have a rational basis.
Grandfathered salary differences.
Different levy lids. Some districts have almost50 percent greater levy capacity than otherdistricts, which is clearly a non-rational result.
Differential reimbursement for administrativeand classified staff based on practice over aquarter century ago.
This proposal will require significant new resources.
 We believe that new resources are necessary if we are torealistically address the needs our children face over thenext several decades. Providing these resources will bedifficult and will require painful trade-off decisions. TheConstitutional mandate for ample provision should drivethe debate on the level of resources provided.The new resources should be phased in over six years.This allows the necessary adjustments to the rest of thebudget and allows time for districts to plan for effectiveuse of the funds. Phasing in the funding allows the systemto make quality decisions about how to optimize the newresources, something learned from our experience withfunding from Initiative 728.
We propose funding asignificant portion of the additional cost by taking alarger share of the natural growth of the state budgetover the six-year time frame.
Ideally we would returnK-12 funding to its historical 50 percent of the stategeneral fund, rather than the current 35 percent.
Providing significant new resources is not a decision totake lightly. This proposal calls for concurrentaccountability improvements to ensure we are makingpositive changes, not just funding the existing systemmore richly. Since most of the new resources go intocompensation for personnel, the accountability changesare most significant in that area, with a major re-alignment of the compensation system to be linked to theperformance and skills of teachers.Our basic expectation is that all students will make atleast one year of progress toward being prepared tograduate on time in every calendar year. Some studentswill need to make more than one year of progress to catchup to their peers. To ensure that students, parents,teachers, and administrators all have the sameinformation and are able to monitor progress towardgraduation for every student regardless of mobility inchanging schools, we propose a statewide diagnosticassessment system that is funded by the state andprovided to all schools.The current definition of a "Basic Education" is found inCourt cases, various statutory laws, the operating budget,and administrative rules that have been adopted under anexpress legislative delegation of authority, such as theState Board of Education's high school graduationrequirements. In the future, it would be helpful forpolicymakers and citizens alike to have access to a singlestatutory reference point or RCW chapter for the programof education and financing system that the Legislaturedefines as Basic Education.
Basic Ed Funding 
A Model Schools Approach 3
Summary Spreadsheet of Per-Student and School Allocations
The spreadsheet below illustrates the type of decisions that drive resources under the proposed funding model. Thenumbers themselves are strongly influenced by the Picus-Odden report but are shown here as examples for discussionpurposes. Again, it is the structure of the model and the nature of the decisions that must be made by the Legislature thatare the key points of our proposal.
Teacher Inst Periods
Teacher Prep Periods
Class SizeFRPL <=50%FRPL >50%
Normal2522CTE1515Lab Science1515AP/IB1515
Remediation Adjustment
tutoring hours/wk2grp size5 summer hours/wk10grp size10weeks4
ELL Adjustment
intensive class/day1grp size8
Highly Capable Adjustment
% of population5%tutoring hours/wk2grp size5 summer hours/wk10grp size10weeks4
Special Education
% of Population12.70%Safety net in state-level allocationBase Multiplier93.09%
Professional Dev
# Days10
Other Building Level Staff 
Principals/Admin1per600students Librarians/Info Svc2per600students Counselors2per600students Nurse/Social Worker2per600students Non Instructional Aide3per600students School Secretary3per600students Custodian2per600students Student & Staff Safety1per600students
Materials, Supplies & Operating Costs
Student Technology258$Prof. Development103$ Curriculum/Materials155$Central Office310$ Energy & Utilities216$Other102$

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