The legislature passed a budget and finished its special session a little after 10 p.m. on May 25. A brief wrap up of closing action..
Final cut from K-12: $1.7 billion. (40 percent of the cuts came from K-12 public schools)
Just over a billion of that is from suspending the I-728/student achievement fund -- again -- and from cutting K-4 class size reduction money. Another $179 million comes via lower salary allocations. The state will send districts 3 percent less for administrative salaries, and 1.9 percent less for teachers and support staff salaries (certificated and classified employees). School districts will have to figure out how to absorb the salary loss (reopen contracts and negotiate pay cut, cut other programs or services, etc). Cutting school days is not an option.
For more budget materials (summaries; striking amendment, agency reports. Lots of good stuff) go here: http://leap.leg.wa.gov/leap/budget/detail/2011/ho1113p.asp
Some positive budget news:
Apple Health remains open to all eligible children
Early learning funded
Full-day kindergarten funded and expanded just a wee bit
Bonuses for teacher board certification funded
Kindergarten assessments (WaKids) and teacher/principal evaluation pilot funded
Levy equalization assistance funded
Bullying workgroup funded
Drop out programs funded
Also, HB 1410 - striker on science bill is one of session's last to pass
Rep. Dammier's striking bill on the science assessments passed. Starting with the class of 2015, students will need to pass a biology end-of-course exam to graduate. See more of the bill details below:
Will use the new biology end-of-course exam. Leaves open the option to develop other end-of-course exams at a later date.
Requirement starts with class of 2015 (most will take the test in 2013).
Will accept AP, SAT, ACT as alternatives, plus collection of evidence.
Allows retakes (up to twice a year, up to 4 retakes).
Does not establish two tiers for graduation. The version that cleared the House education committee would have allowed kids to graduate without a Certificate of Academic Achievement if they took more science classes. There was concern about the costs and logistics of requiring more science classes before the state increased instructional time. (Basic ed reform calls for more instructional time in middle and high school, and more science, but legislation pending this year pushes funding for that back to at least 2014-15 school year.)
SB 5919 - education funding
No instructional increase until at least 2014-15
Clarifies transportation funding formula
Allows flexibility in transitional bilingual funding (more if kids need intensive language intervention, less when kids more English proficient)
Quality Education Council must synthesize funding recommendations from work groups
Details minimum allocations for prototypical schools (this is a funding model ONLY; districts can allocate most funds as they see fit)
An early version of this bill hit resistance from professional associations and advocacy groups by stripping end dates off basic ed. That language was removed.
The version that passed Senate Ways and Means included language around phasing out I-728 after funding put into basic education. That language was taken out.