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Quality Education Council Back to Work
Group convenes first meeting after legislative session

OLYMPIA — May 6, 2010 — A group dedicated to creating a new school funding system begins its second year of work Monday.

The Quality Education Council, established by the 2009 state Legislature, is tasked with developing recommendations for the implementation of a new definition of basic education and for the financing necessary to support it. The new system will be in place by 2018.

“Even with two of the most difficult budgets in a row, the Legislature has done a good job of laying the foundation we need to complete our work,” said Randy Dorn, state superintendent of public instruction and QEC chair.

As an example of the Legislature’s work, Dorn pointed to Substitute House Bill 2776, passed in 2010, which authorizes the phase-in of a new pupil transportation formula, as well as the phase-in of enhancements to current funding levels.

“What 2776 did, in part, was to add real numbers into the mix,” Dorn said. “We now have some specific targets for school staff. We know how many teachers and librarians and counselors should be in each school, whether it’s a K-3, a skills center or a comprehensive high school.”

Work in 2010 will focus on:

  • Pupil transportation. The QEC will work toward implementing the new funding system for pupil transportation by the next biennium. Providing a way for all students to and from school should be an obligation paid for by the state.
  • Achievement gap and dropout rate. The new school funding system will reflect a commitment to reducing both. To achieve that, the QEC will gain a new member appointed by the Achievement Gap Oversight and Accountability Committee and will consult with both that committee and the Building Bridges workgroup to develop a recommendation for the Legislature to address the needs of our struggling students.
  • Basic operating costs. During the next biennium, the QEC will work toward the necessary funding schools need to cover their most basic operating costs. Right now, the state provides only half the money needed to pay for insurance, lights, and heat.
  • Stable and ample revenue sources. The QEC will deliver recommendations to the Legislature on how to provide stable and ample revenue sources to fund basic education in the future. A workgroup dedicated to making recommendations regarding local levies and levy equalization will start this summer.
  • Staffing levels. The QEC will provide leadership in determining the appropriate levels of classified school staff (such as security, technology support and maintenance and operations) and assure that these levels are fully funded by 2018.
  • Early learning. The QEC will collaborate with the Department of Early Learning to develop a comprehensive plan of early learning for children, and continue to implement state funded all-day kindergarten opportunities throughout the state. Studies have shown that investing in early learning programs yields long-term gains that extend far beyond education.

“I’m excited about our work in 2010,” Dorn said. “We’ve got a great start, and we’ll keep moving forward. By 2018, we’ll see our vision take shape. Schools will receive the funding needed to let all students be successful in our ever-changing global economy.”

The QEC submitted its first report to the Legislature in January and will update its recommendations every four years.

 

About OSPI

The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) is the primary agency charged with overseeing K-12 education in Washington state. Led by State School Superintendent Randy Dorn, OSPI works with the state’s 295 school districts and nine Educational Service Districts to administer basic education programs and implement education reform on behalf of more than one million public school students.

OSPI does not discriminate and provides equal access to its programs and services for all persons without regard to race, color, gender, religion, creed, marital status, national origin, sexual preference/orientation, age, veteran’s status or the presence of any physical, sensory or mental disability.

CONTACT:
Nathan Olson
OSPI Communications Manager
(360) 725-6015

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Next QEC meeting

May 10-11
9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Senate Cherberg Building
Conference Room A-B-C
(Directions and Parking)
(Campus Map)

For more information

 

Old Capitol Building, PO Box 47200, 600 Washington St. S.E., Olympia, WA  98504-7200  (360) 725-6000  TTY (360) 664-3631
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