Sunday, November 18, 2012

News from NEWS . . .

I'm on the Network for Excellence in Washington Schools (NEWS) e-mail list.  This is the organization behind the McCleary lawsuit that is forcing the state legislators to meet their constitutional requirement to fund schools under the ESHB 2261 vision.  In a recent e-mail from the organization they shared some data and charts showing the gap between current funding and the funding required under the lawsuit.  The gap is very large as can be seen in the chart below from the e-mail.  The remaining charts can be found here.

The red line is the funding level when the legislation was enacted and the bars are the targets to move to fully funded by the 2017-18 school year.  The data shows the huge gap and the lack of progress on meeting targets thus far.  How will legislators and the newly elected governor close this gap and meet targets in the biennium that begins in January?  That task has become even more difficult based on the information in this Seattle Times editorial.  Facing a $900 million shortfall makes closing the gap much more difficult especially given the governor-elects no new tax promise.  We are approaching a point where public school funding must change.  The State Supreme Court and organizations like NEWS have made it clear that the current reality will not be possible to maintain, it must be replaced by "steady progress" towards the legislator's own vision for schools of the future.  It will be interesting to view how they meet these competing commitments from a distance.

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