Superintendent Dorn Releases a Full Funding Basic Education Plan

Apr 14, 2015

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Posted by Jerry Bender

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Superintendent Dorn Releases a Full Funding Basic Education Plan

State Superintendent Randy Dorn released his grand plan to fully fund basic education Tuesday morning, saying he wanted to give the Legislature the first shot at meeting the McCleary decision. Since he believes at least two critical components, compensation and levy reform, have not been addressed, he is offering up his ideas on how to fully fund K–12 education by 2021. The $9 billion plan contains seven elements and tries to address the legal, practical, and political issues that need to be fixed in order to address the Washington State Supreme Court contempt citation of the state’s failure to meet its paramount constitutional obligations to the students of the state. The seven elements of his plan include:

  1. Complete the full funding of statewide full-day kindergarten, lower K–3 class size, materials, supplies and operating costs (MSOC), and transportation.
  2. Reduce class size in grades 4–12 not to the level of I–1351 of 25 in grades 7–12 but 27 by 2021 rather than 2018. There is no mention of increased principal ratios with the additional teachers being added.
  3. Hire additional support staff including librarians, nurses, security officers, custodians, etc.
  4. Fund more teachers and more classrooms which is a major obstacle to meeting the 2018 deadline,
  5. Reform the compensation system to include regional or statewide collective bargaining for compensation, health insurance, benefits, TRI days as well as professional development days.
  6. Reform the levy system and define what local levies can be used for. Currently, over 50% of local levies are used for compensation.
  7. Review and update education provisions regularly so that education issues that evolve over time are addressed by the legislature. For example, with the implementation of the new evaluation system, principal staffing ratios are inadequate and the issue will be exacerbated by adding additional staff to reduce class sizes.

A more detailed explanation of the plan is available here and includes cost tables and timelines. Thursday afternoon, Washington State Treasurer James McIntire will hold a press conference to discuss what the state could do to support the OSPI proposal. You can watch a replay of the press conference on TVW, or check out the embedded video below.

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