Monday, March 11, 2013

The message of moving forward . . .

Thinking back to my post on the importance of a community of support for success in our work, leads me to reflect on yesterday's experience with legislators and the importance of their contribution to our community.  With over 70% of our funding coming from the state, decisions that they make have a significant influence on our capacity to meet the needs of our students.

The graphic that I shared in the post doesn't tell the whole picture because community is greater than just our local area.  It includes the state legislature and the federal government because they also contribute funding to our work.  It reinforces the importance of what is taking place in Olympia and the difficult decisions that they face in finding revenue to meet the McCleary decision and supporting us in our work.

The message that I am giving our legislators is one of moving forward with the reforms in HB 2261 and HB 2776.  Move forward by funding the recommendations of the Joint Task Force On Education Funding and making movement to fund the prototypical school formulas.  Start by fully funding transportation and maintenance, supplies and operating costs (MSOC).  This would be phase 1 followed in the next year of the biennium by funding for all day kindergarten and the K-3 staffing enhancement of 17 to 1.

The order of funding these programs is important because transportation and MSOC increases provide us with flexibility, something we need as we move into TPEP and Common Core implementation with little support from the state.  For some of the legislators funding the next phase of all day kindergarten and K-3 staffing may become more categorical, aligning with their outcomes based approach.  So, what will it cost to fund phase 1?  Somewhere in the $1.4 billion range.  What will it cost to fully fund basic education as defined   in HB 2261 by 2018?  It will cost about $1.8 billion in each year from 2014 to 2018.  Sound like a lot of money?  It is, especially with the no new tax parameter of Governor Inslee and the Senate leadership.

What message are you sharing with your legislators?

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