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The Crisis in Funding for Public Education. A Washington State PTA Presentation March 30, 2007. Your child’s opportunities are limited because the state does not fully fund basic education. PTA’s Main Message. Overview. Underfunding basic education affects all children.

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the crisis in funding for public education

The Crisis in Funding for Public Education

A Washington State PTA Presentation

March 30, 2007

your child s opportunities are limited because the state does not fully fund basic education

Your child’s opportunities are limited becausethe state does not fully fund basic education.

PTA’s Main Message

  • Underfunding basic education affects all children.
  • We have a legal right to a fully-funded basic education.
  • Some districts are worse off than others.
  • What does it take to fund successful schools?
  • What can you do about the crisis?
1 underfunding basic education affects all children
1. Underfunding Basic Education Affects All Children

Wanna buy a candy bar for my school?

washington state s per pupil funding is low by any measure
Washington State’s Per-Pupil Funding is Low by Any Measure

Washington State’s per-pupil funding has lagged behind the national average at least since 1995.

Source: U.S. Dept. of Education, Digest of Education Statistics 2005, Table 167.

washington state s per pupil funding is low by any measure1
Washington State’s Per-Pupil Funding is Low by Any Measure

The State’s per-pupil funding has not kept up with inflation since 1992.

Source: OSPI’s Five Year Strategic Plan 2002-07

washington state s per pupil funding is low by any measure2
Washington State’s Per-Pupil Funding is Low by Any Measure

Three different expert studies on the cost of a quality education all say

the state’s per-pupil funding is less than what’s needed.

Expert Source: See the notes for this slide.

washington state s per pupil funding is low by any measure3
Washington State’s Per-Pupil Funding is Low by Any Measure

In the Seattle area, most private high schools’ tuition is greater

than the state’s per-pupil funding of $7,876.

Private High School Tuition in School Year 2005-06

Source: The Seattle Times School Guide (2006) OSPI per-pupil funding for 2004-05.

as revenues have declined costs have increased
As Revenues Have Declined, Costs Have Increased

More Students with Greater Needs

Source: OSPI

certain federal and state laws require that all children must meet state academic standards
Certain Federal and State Laws Require that All Children Must Meet State Academic Standards
  • The federal No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) mandated that 100% of all students must meet academic standards by 2014, and make adequate yearly progress in doing so.
  • Beginning with the class of 2008, state law requires all graduates to pass the 10th grade WASL.
our children s opportunities and financial security are at stake
Our Children’s Opportunities and Financial Security Are at Stake

Source: U.S. Census 2004. Cited by Edfund. Learn and Earn Chart 2005


The State Constitution

“It is the paramount duty of the state to make ample provision for the education of all children residing within its borders…”

  • State Courts
  • Judicial decisions in 1978 and 1983 have held that:
  • The State must define and fully fund basic education.
  • Excess levies can not be required to fund any partof basic education.
  • The Legislature is required to continually review, evaluate, and revise basic education funding formulas as the education system evolves and changes.

The State Legislature

  • The Basic Education Act of 1978 originally defined basic education and developed the staff-per-student ratios used in funding formulas.
  • The Education Reform Act of 1993 significantly changed the definition of basic education and for the first time established high academic standards for all students.

But The Legislature has not revised the funding formulas for basic education since 1978!

  • Think how much educational needs have changed regarding:
    • Computers, classroom technology and internet access.
    • Counselors, nurses and social workers
    • Specialists in reading and math
    • ELL teachers, audiologists and other professional therapists
    • Highly trained teachers for Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate programs
why are some districts so low funded compared to others
Why Are Some Districts So Low Funded Compared to Others?

Salary Inequities

Source: LEAP Document 12E Salary Allocations for the 2006-07 School Year


Washington State Under Funds

The Actual Cost of Student Needs


Programs for students in poverty cost at

least twice as much as regular education.

Washington State:

Programs for students in poverty only provide

an additional 7% to 17%.

“In considering budget cuts, districts try

to protect instructional programs by initially

targeting administrative and support

services, particularly maintenance.

However, if these programs have already

been the subject of cuts in previous years

and are already at low levels, it may become necessary to reduce expenditures for instructional programs as well.”1

Limited revenues and increasing costs have forced some districts to make hard decisions:

Follow the trail of likely budget cuts

classified staff
Classified Staff


Office Staff

Maintenance Workers

Security Guards

Bus Drivers

enrichment programs
Enrichment Programs




Music Programs

certificated support staff
Certificated Support Staff



Instructional Coaches


instructional supplies and equipment
Instructional Supplies and Equipment

Lab Equipment



Classroom Technology

Textbooks and Student Materials

specialized or advanced courses
Specialized or Advanced Courses

Advanced Placement

Foreign Language

Career and Technical Education

certificated teaching staff
Certificated Teaching Staff

ELL Teachers

Core Classroom Teachers


Math and Science Teachers

Special Ed Teachers

4 what does it take to fund successful schools
4. What does it take to fund successful schools?
  • More funding for best practices based on research and actual cost data.
  • Funding should be for basic education programs.

Washington State Needs to Fund MORE Staff!

Source: OSPI for current staffing. Picus et al for recommended staffing. See notes.

the state needs to increase funding for instructional and facility related costs
The State Needs to Increase Funding for Instructional and Facility-Related Costs!

Nonemployee-Related Costs (NERC) include instructional costs for textbooks and computers and facility costs for electricity, heating, and water/sewage.


Fund Basic Education First!

Basic Education Programs

Currently six programs fall within the legislative definition of basic education, and therefore must be funded by the state:

1. General apportionment;

2. Special education for students with disabilities;

3. Some pupil transportation;

4. Learning Assistance Program;

5. Transitional Bilingual Education;

6. Educational programs in juvenile detention centers and state institutions.

districts pay a price for inadequate basic ed funding
Districts Pay a Price for Inadequate Basic Ed Funding
  • Classified Staff include attorneys, personnel and finance specialists, secretaries, clerks, maintenance, security, and food service workers, technicians, instructional assistants, custodians, and bus drivers.

The Governor’s Washington Learns Committee

Proposals on Basic Education

  • By December 2008, the Washington Learns Steering Committee will
  • Issuerecommendations for a revised K-12 funding model that will
    • Meet the Constitutional requirement of providing a basic education to all our students, and
    • Be clear and transparent for taxpayers.
  • Work to develop a ten-year implementation strategy for stable and significantly increased funding to support a world-class, learner-focused, seamless education system for Washington.

Legislative Proposals that Address Basic Education Funding

  • Bills That Propose Studies That Would Revise Basic Education Formulas:
  • HB 1661 Calls for a detailed study of the cost of basic education under four scenarios that vary teacher salary and class size. FR – Nov. 2008
  • SB 5627 Calls for a technical group to develop a new funding structure that aligns with the final report of the Washington Learns steering committee and the basic education provisions in current law. FR – Jan. 2008
  • Bills That Call for Equalization of Salary Allocations to
  • Districts Over a Six-Year Period
  • SB 5135 and HB 1540
  • Bills That Call for New Transportation Funding Formulas
  • SB 5114 and HB 1165

Join the Legislative Action Alert Listserve

    • Go to; Click on Legislation
  • Write or email your legislative representatives
    • Go to; Click on “Find Your Legislator”
  • Invite an Ed Funding PTA speaker to your next PTA meeting
  • Present PTA’s Ed Funding power point yourself
    • Contact RLC Christine Enslein at