Quality Education Council (QEC) - ESHB 2261 (Basic Education) Overview
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Quality Education Council (QEC)

Statutory Framework

The 2009 and 2010 sessions of the Washington state Legislature passed three historic K-12 education bills.

  • Engrossed Substitute House Bill 2261 (2009) outlined a bold new system for state funding of basic education, and created the Quality Education Council to develop and implement it.
  • Substitute House Bill 2776 (2010) authorized the first steps for implementation of the new funding system.
  • Engrossed Substitute Senate Bill 6696 (2010) set in motion transformative change in four areas: more rigorous academic standards, improvements in teacher effectiveness and equity in teacher distribution, better use of data to drive improvement in student learning, and intervention in schools with persistently low student learning and graduation rates.

The QEC has an ongoing responsibility to identify measurable goals and priorities for the education system, including the goals of basic education, and strategies for coordinating statewide efforts to eliminate the achievement gap and reduce student dropout rates.

Engrossed Substitute House Bill 2261 (2009) builds upon the work done by Washington Learns and the Basic Education Finance Task Force and aims to make reform a reality. The bill redefines the state’s “Program of Basic Education” and the funding amounts and methods needed to fully support it. Full implementation of the bill must be completed by 2018 (PDF).

ESHB 2261 includes the following enhancements to our state’s education system:

  • Increased instructional hours
  • Enhanced high school diploma requirements
  • New transportation funding formula
  • All-day kindergarten added to basic education
  • New finance structure for transparency

The Governor vetoed two parts of the bill:

  • The designation of Early Learning for disadvantaged students as basic education
  • Highly Capable safety net structure

In addition to the items listed above, the bill specifies that funding allocations and expenditure reporting are done by a prototypical school model. The bill requires that the capacity of the state’s education system be reviewed on a biennial basis by OSPI.

What ESHB 2261 Does:

  • Defines new programs of Basic Education, while mandating that no new requirements shall be implemented without associated funding.
  • Adopts the prototype schools funding model.
  • Establishes that programs shall be fully funded by the 2018-19 school year.
  • Establishes a new funding formula for Pupil Transportation, to begin during or before 2013.
  • Creates a roadmap for work groups to define the details of the funding formulas.
  • Establishes the Quality Education Council to recommend phase-in to the Legislature.

What ESHB 2261 Does Not Do:

  • Establish the prototypical school model values in statute.
  • Specify a new teacher compensation system.
  • Specify a new levy system, including levy lids and/or levy equalization issues.
  • Specify a new system for salary allocations.
  • Adopt an accountability system.
  • Specify the schedule of funding phase-in between now and the 2018-19 school year.

Work Groups and Additional Tasks of ESHB 2261

Four working groups were created to develop and implement the details of the bill. The groups will focus on funding formulas, employee compensation, levies and levy equalization, and data governance.

Finally, ESHB 2261 calls for additional work from two other state agencies:

Professional Educator Standards Board
As part of ESHB 2261, the Professional Education Standards Board adopted performance standards for effective teaching and a definition of a master teacher. They must also update the Legislature on the status of Professional Certification assessment implementation. In addition to these tasks, they must also recommend a proposal for classroom-based evaluations of student-teacher effectiveness and recommend the length of time a residency certificate is valid. The PESB is to consult with the Washington Education Association, Washington Association of School Administrators, the Association of Washington School Principals, and the Washington State School Directors’ Association.

State Board of Education
ESHB 2261 required the State Board of Education to continue their work on developing an Accountability Index and a proposal for Core 24. They must also propose a system for voluntary state support and assistance. Once developed, the State Board must seek federal approval for the new accountability and support system in coordination with OSPI.

Substitute House Bill 2776 (2010) builds upon Engrossed Substitute House Bill 2261, authorizing implementation of the funding system. It establishes a new funding allocation method based upon a prototypical school format, effective September 1, 2011. The new formula for the allocation of general apportionment moneys to school districts breaks the funding structure into three major functional areas of a school district:

  • Schools
  • Districtwide support
  • Administration
    The prototypical school model is a fixed theoretical school size that is used for modeling purposes, including both a prototypical school and class size. As enrollment increases or decreases from the prototypical size, the staff units can change proportionately.

    For more information: http://www.k12.wa.us/safs/INS/2776/2776.asp

Engrossed Substitute Senate Bill 6696 (2010) included many reforms in response to the Federal Race to the Top Grant process, including strengthening academic standards, improving teacher effectiveness and the evaluation process, improving the use of data for the improvement of student learning and providing for additional intervention to improve schools with persistently low student learning and graduation rates.

For more information:

Common Core Standards were adopted by OSPI on July 20, 2011 in response to the ESSB 6696. The standards were developed through a process led by the Council for Chief State School Officers and the National Governors Association, describe the knowledge and skills in English language arts and mathematics that young people will need upon graduation from high school, whatever their choice of college or career. More than 40 states have now adopted these standards.

The Teacher and Principal Evaluation Pilots have been developing and implementing new evaluation systems as a result of E2SSB 6696.

School Improvement requires OSPI to annually identify the persistently lowest-achieving schools in the state. It also requires the superintendent to recommend to the State Board of Education which school districts should be designated as Required Action Districts.

Additional Responsibilities Designated to the QEC:

Senate Bill 6759 passed by the 2010 legislature required the QEC, with input from the Early Learning Workgroup and the Early Learning Advisory Council, to make recommendations for a comprehensive plan for a voluntary program of early learning.

The 2011-13 Biennial Operating Budget (ESHB 1087) directed the QEC to examine the revised funding formula for the Transitional Bilingual Program and make recommendations for

  • Changing the prototypical school funding formula to align with the revised model in an accurate and transparent manner;
  • Reconciling the revised model with statutory requirements the transitional bilingual instructional program;
  • Clarifying the elements of the transitional bilingual instructional program that fall under the definition of basic; and
  • The extent that the disparate financial impact of the revised model on different school districts should be addressed and options for addressing it.

House Bill 2360 (2016) eliminated the QEC and the Technical Funding Formulas Working Group. Numerous statutes referencing the QEC were modified to reflect the elimination of the QEC.


   Updated 8/30/2016

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