Opening Up The Operating Budget

Jul 22, 2015

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Posted by Jerry Bender


2015–17 Operating Budget: ESSB 6052

The operating budget refers specifically to principals five times in the 538 page document. Some of the topics addressed are:

  • Including principals as part of an advisory committee to develop a model policy and procedures for language access by limited-English proficient parents.
  • Rolling back administrative staff allocations to the same funding level prior to the passage of I–1351.
  • Requiring school principals to participate in annual professional development on the best practices for special education instruction and strategies for implementation.
  • Maintaining $477,000 for leadership internship programs for principal candidates.
  • Maintaining $810,000 for the development of the Washington State Leadership Academy (WSLA).

Other changes that are of interest to most principals include:


Maintenance, Supplies & Operating Costs — $741.5M
SHB 2776 (2010) and the McCleary decision require full funding of an enhanced formula for Maintenance, Supplies & Operating Costs (MSOC) by the 2015–16 school year. Allocations for MSOC are increased for the 2015–16 and 2016–17 school years by $741.5 million, fully funding this obligation. MSOC will continue to be adjusted annually for inflation in the future.

MSOC, as adopted in SHB 2776, encompasses seven components representing the non-staff costs of operating a school district. Per full-time equivalent student allocations for each of those individual components are enhanced in the 2015–16 and 2016–17 school years, as follows:

  • Technology, from the current $89.13 to $127.17 in 2015–16 and $129.33 in 2016–17
  • Utilities & Insurance, from $242.17 to $345.55 and $351.43
  • Curriculum & Textbooks, from $95.69 to $136.54 and $138.86
  • Other Supplies & Library Materials, from $203.16 to $289.88 and $294.81
  • Instructional Professional Development for Certificated and Classified Staff, from $14.80 to $21.12 and $21.47
  • Facilities Maintenance, from $119.97 to $171.19 and $174.10
  • Security & Central Office, from $83.12 to $118.60 and $120.61

The Operating Budget provides enhancements for each individual MSOC component; however, the funding continues to be for “allocation purposes only,” so the enhancements continue to provide districts flexibility in using the funds. The total funding increases from $848.04 per full-time equivalent student provided in the current school year to $1,210.05 per FTE student in the 2015–16 school year and $1,230.62 in the 2016–17 school year.

Class Size Reduction — $350.2M
SHB 2776 (2010) and the McCleary decision require average class sizes for grades K–3 to be reduced, beginning with schools with the highest percent of low-income students, until the class size for those grades is 17 students per classroom teacher in the 2017–18 school year.

The budget provides $350.2 million to continue to phase in reduced class sizes in grades K–3, with the largest class size reductions occurring in early grades in the first year and then following the cohort of students who have already received the benefit of state-funded class size reduction in the second year. Priority is given to high-poverty elementary schools, as measured by those with the highest percentage of students eligible for the federal Free and Reduced-Price Lunch (FRPL) program.

Funded allocations for general education class sizes are targeted, as follows:

Kindergarten class sizes are reduced to 22 students-per-teacher in school year 2015–16 and to 19 students-per-teacher in the 2016–17 school year:

  • Grade 1 - 23 and 21
  • Grade 2 - 24 and 22
  • Grade 3 - 25 and 22 in Grade 3

Funded allocations for class sizes in high poverty schools (at which more than fifty percent of students are eligible for FRPL) are targeted, as follows:

Kindergarten class sizes are reduced to 18 students-per-teacher in school year 2015–16 and to 17 students-per-teacher in the 2016–17 school year:

  • Grade 1 - 19 and 17
  • Grade 2 - 22 and 18
  • Grade 3 - 24 and 21

Although SHB 2776 specifies that enhanced funding for class size reduction is for “allocation purposes only,” the Operating Budget requires allocations for class sizes to be provided in proportion to each school district’s “demonstrated actual weighted average class size for grades kindergarten through three.” Class size compliance will be calculated at a district-wide level separately for high poverty schools and non-high poverty schools. The results of the compliance calculation will be two unique by district weighted average class sizes (high poverty and regular) to be used in the apportionment system. At a minimum, OSPI must provide allocations sufficient to fund a weighted average class size not to exceed 25.23 full-time equivalent students per teacher in grades K–3.

Funding is provided to fully implement a class size of 17 for K–1 students in high poverty schools in the 2016–17 school year. It is anticipated that sufficient additional funding will be provided in the next biennial budget to fully implement a class size of 17 for grades K–3 in all schools by the 2017–18 school year, as required by current law.

All-day Kindergarten — $179.8M
SHB 2776 (2010) and the McCleary decision require statewide basic education funding of all-day kindergarten by the 2017–18 school year. The budget provides allocations sufficient to expand statewide voluntary all-day kindergarten programs, increasing from 43.75 percent of kindergarten enrollment in the 2014–15 school year to 71.88 percent in the 2015–16 school year. All-day kindergarten is fully implemented at 100 percent of kindergarten enrollment in the 2016–17 school year, one year ahead of the required deadline.

Until statewide all-day kindergarten is fully implemented, funding is provided first to those schools with the highest percentage of students eligible for the federal Free and Reduced-Price Lunch program. OSPI maintains a rank-order list of eligible schools, available on the School Apportionment & Financial Services webpage.

Dual Credit — $6.6M
Funding is provided to partially implement E2SHB 1546, eliminating the use of Running Start for courses offered in the high school, and creating subsidies and per credit fee limits for College in the High School classes for eligible 11th and 12th grade students. The bill established a prioritization of funding, as follows:

  • Current Running Start in the High School students for 2015–16 only;
  • Students whose high school or residence is more than 20 driving miles from a college offering a Running Start program;
  • Students attending schools receiving small high funding; and
  • Students eligible for Free and Reduced Price Lunch.

Unfortunately to implement the bill, the funding is only sufficient to assist students in the first priority in 2015–16 and students in the second priority in 2016–17. It is also likely that not all students in those two tiers will receive assistance.

Teacher Mentoring — $5.0M
Funding is provided to expand the number of teachers that may participate in the Beginning Educator Support Team (BEST) program. BEST provides grants to school districts and/or regional consortia to provide an enhanced level of support and professional development for new teachers. Funding for principal mentoring was in the governor’s budget but was not included in the final budget.

CTE Guidance Counselors — $3.5M
Funding is provided to adjust the prototypical school funding formula staffing allocations in Career & Technical Education and Skills Centers programs for state-funded Education Staff Associates, correcting a formula error.

School Turnaround Programs — $3.2M
Sufficient funding is provided for grants to school districts identified as persistently lowest achieving and having been listed by OSPI as a Required Action District. Funds are also provided for staffing at OSPI for the implementation and continued administration of the program.

College Success — $2.9M
Washington Achievers Scholars supports community involvement officers in the recruitment, training, and matching of community volunteer mentors with students selected as Achievers Scholars, providing mentorship to low-income high school juniors and seniors through their freshman year of college. The College Bound Scholarship program provides annual college tuition and a book allowance for low-income Washington students. This budget provides funding to expand the Washington Achievers Scholars program within King and Pierce counties. Additionally, funding is provided to replace federal and private dollars that are no longer available to the College Bound Scholarship program.

Kindergarten Readiness — $2.8M
Funding is provided to continue the statewide administration of the Washington Kindergarten Inventory and Developing Skills (WaKIDS) and for one-time implementation and training grants for schools implementing the inventory for the first time in the 2015–17 biennium.

Computer Science Grants — $2.0M
Funding is provided for the Computer Science and Education Grant program to support: the training and credentialing of teachers in computer sciences; the provision and upgrading of technology needed to learn computer science; and Computer Science Frontiers Grants to introduce students to and engage them in computer science. In implementing the grant program, OSPI is directed to use the computer science learning standards that must be adopted as required in SHB 1813. Pursuant to SHB 1813, those standards must be developed by a nationally recognized computer science education organization.

Grants provided for the purpose of introducing students to computer science are intended to support innovative ways to introduce and engage students from historically underrepresented groups, including girls, low-income students, and minority students, to computer science and to inspire them to enter computer science careers. Grant funds are permitted to be expended only to the extent that they are equally matched by private sources for the program, including gifts, grants, or endowments.

Microsoft IT Academy — $2.0M
The budget provides funding to expand the statewide Information Technology (IT) Academy. The public-private partnership (with Microsoft) provides educational software, as well as IT certification and software training opportunities for students and staff in public schools. The additional funding will expand the Academy in middle schools.

Math & Science Professional Development — $1.4M
One-time funding is provided for professional development and coaching for state-funded math and science high school teachers. Training will be provided in the 2015–16 school year by the science and mathematics coordinators at each ESD. The professional development must include instructional strategies and curriculum-specific training to improve outcomes for the statewide high school mathematics assessment or the high school biology assessment. The professional development provided may be broken up into shorter timeframes over the course of more than one day, but the aggregate amount of professional development provided must be one full work day. The funding provided is for state-funded units only.

Project-Based Math & Science — $1.0M
Funding is provided for OSPI to contract with a non-profit organization to integrate the state learning standards in English language arts, math and science with outdoor field studies and project-based and work-based learning opportunities aligned with the environmental, natural resource and agricultural sectors.

CTE Grants — $800,000
Funding is provided to increase Secondary Career & Technical Education grants. If equally matched by private donations, half of the appropriation must be used to support FIRST Robotics programs. A portion of the funding enhancement is provided to support statewide supervision activities for Career & Technical Education student leadership organizations.

Building Bridges Grant Program — $762,000
The budget provides required funding from the Dedicated Marijuana Account to provide grants to Building Bridges, a statewide dropout prevention, intervention and reengagement program.

College Bound PSAT — $652,000
One-time funding is provided for the administration of the Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test (PSAT) to ninth and tenth grade participants in the College Bound program. Income eligible students have to be allowed to take the PSAT in eleventh grade at no cost, to take the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) twice at no cost, and access to additional tools and score reports at no cost.

Urban School Turnaround — $600,000
One-time funding is provided to continue the Urban School Turnaround Initiative and provide grants to each of the two schools in the Seattle School District that received grants under the original program. The purpose of these grants is to assist the schools in maintaining gains made as a result of work completed under the original program, while also phasing out state funding support of the program.

AIM Community Grants — $250,000
Funding is provided for a pilot program for Academic, Innovation, and Mentoring (AIM) in five communities statewide. The grants will fund expanded learning opportunity grants to community-based organizations. The purpose of the program is to enable eligible neighborhood youth development entities to provide out-of-school programs for youth ages six to eighteen years of age that include educational services, mentoring and linkages to positive, pro-social leisure, and recreational activities. The programs must be designed for mentoring and academic enrichment which include at least two of the following three activity areas: (a) science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM); (b) homework support and high-yield learning opportunities; and (c) career exploration.

Computer Science Education — $239,000
Funding is provided to implement SHB 1813, computer science education. OSPI and the Professional Educator Standards Board (PESB) are directed to adopt computer science learning standards, and PESB is directed to develop a K–12 computer science endorsement.

Social and Emotional Learning — $215,000
One-time funding is provided to OSPI to convene a Work Group to make recommendations on comprehensive benchmarks for developmentally appropriate interpersonal and decision-making knowledge and skills of social and emotional learning for kindergarten through high school. The Work Group is directed to submit its recommendations to the Legislature by October 1, 2016.

Non-Violence Training — $150,000
Increased funding support is provided for school districts and schools to work with the Institute for Community Leadership to implement non-violence curriculum, training and workshops.

Children’s Music Foundation — $50,000
Funding is provided for OSPI to partner with a nonprofit organization providing music curriculum for kindergarten and first grade students and to establish a grant program that provides start-up costs and materials for integrated music curriculum that links together other core curriculum. Preference is to be given to Title 1 schools, Head Start programs, Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program sites, high poverty schools, schools with high mobility and schools with low student achievement.

Educational Opportunity for Military Children — $32,000 Enhanced funding is provided to continue support for the Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunities for Military Children, as adopted in 2009.


Initiative 1351 — ($2B)
EHB 2266, delays the implementation of I–1351. Initial funding will be required beginning in the 2019–21 biennium, with full implementation required by the end of the 2021–23 biennium. This deferral action (an amendment to an Initiative within two years of adoption which required a two-thirds approval of both houses) “saves” $2.0 billion in the current biennium.

AP/IB Fees — ($50,000) Funding for the state’s subsidy of Advanced Placement exam fees, International Baccalaureate class fees, and International Baccalaureate exam fees is reduced to align with the actual expected expenditures for the program.


Educator COLA — $396.2M
The final budget fully funds Cost of Living Adjustments for state-funded K–12 employees, as required by Initiative 732, but also provides an additional, temporary enhancement. The total provided COLA aligns with increases in state employee compensation pursuant to their recently negotiated collective bargaining agreements. $243.9 million is provided to fund a 1.8 percent COLA for the 2015–16 school year and a 1.2 percent COLA for the 2016–17 school year.

An additional $152.3 million is provided for a one-biennium additional salary increase of 1.2 percent for the 2015–16 school year and 0.6 percent in the 2016–17 school year. Taken together with the I–732 COLA, the total salary increase for these two school years is 3.0 percent and 1.8 percent. These COLA percentages are to be applied to base salary allocations for Certificated Instructional Staff, Certificated Administrative Staff and Classified Staff. The additional salary increase is one-time and expires August 31, 2017. The additional COLA is provided to maintain parity with state employee salaries; however, it is a temporary enhancement while the state continues to review and revise state-funded salary allocations. It is assumed that a new compensation system will be ready to be implemented when this “bonus” COLA expires on August 31, 2017.

Health Benefits — $24.4M

The budget increases the state-funded health benefit rate for state-funded certificated instructional staff and certificated administrative staff. The maintenance rate for insurance benefit allocations is $768.00 per month. The additional funding will increase funded rates to $780.00 per month, beginning in the 2015–16 school year.


Legislation adopted in 2014 established a new Washington State Seal of Biliteracy to recognize public high school graduates who attain a high level of proficiency in speaking, reading, and writing in one or more world languages in addition to English. Proviso language is included in the 2015–17 Operating Budget requiring school districts to annually report to OSPI on: The annual number of graduating high school seniors within the district earning the Washington State Seal of Biliteracy; and the number of high school students earning competency-based high school credits for world languages by demonstrating proficiency in a language other than English. OSPI, then, is required to provide a summary report to the Legislature by December 1st of each year.

Enrollment Calculation
Proviso language is added to the 2015–17 Operating Budget altering the previous calculation of K–12 enrollment. Due to legislation adopted last year (SB 6552), which increased the minimum required instructional hours, student FTE enrollment must now be based on 1,027 hours, rather than 1,000 hours. Budget language requires OSPI to “align the agency rules defining a full-time equivalent student with the increase in the minimum instructional hours under RCW 28A.150.220, as amended by the Legislature in 2014.”

Science Assessment
Maintenance Level funding is provided to OSPI to continue the development and implementation of the state’s assessment system. The 2015–17 Operating Budget adds a new proviso regarding the biology assessment, requiring OSPI to administer the biology Collection of Evidence. The language states: “To ensure that students are learning the state standards, prior to the collection of work samples being submitted to the state for evaluation, a classroom teacher or other educator must review the collection of work to determine whether the sample is likely to meet the minimum required score to meet the state standard.”

Additional proviso language contained in the Learning Assistance Program section of the budget specifically authorizes school districts, during the 2015–16 and 2016–17 school years, to use LAP funds to provide assistance to high school students who have not passed the state assessment in science.

Life Skills Training
The budget allocates $500,000 from the Dedicated Marijuana Account (not the General Fund) to the Alcohol and Substance Abuse Program within the Department of Social and Health Services. The funding is provided for a grant to OSPI to deliver life skills training to children and youth in schools that are in high needs communities.

Prevention Grants
$5.0 million is provided to the Alcohol and Substance Abuse Program within the Department of Social and Health Services for grants to community-based programs that provide substance abuse prevention services or activities to youth, including programs for school-based resource officers. The funding is allocated from the Dedicated Marijuana Account.

The Board of Health adopted the new rules in August 2009; however, in compliance with budget directives, they have extended the effective date of the rules several times. Currently, the projected effective date of the new rules is July 1, 2017.

Healthiest Next Generation
The budget provides one-time funding of $246,000 for the Department of Health to support Washington’s Healthiest Next Generation efforts by partnering with OSPI, the Department of Early Learning and other public and private partners as deemed appropriate.

Washington Award for Vocational Excellence
Current law requires the Workforce Training and Education Coordinating Board to annually grant the Washington Award for Vocational Excellence to selected students. Due to budget constraints, however, provision of the Award has been limited in recent years. The budget specifically precludes the Board from designating Award recipients or recognizing them in any way during the 2015–17 biennium.

  • Budget
  • McCleary
  • Legislation
  • Leg Update

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