2015-2016 Now First Year to Meet New Legislative Requirements
One More Year to Make the Transition
New rule changes to LAP mean that districts will not have to make changes to the LAP services they have in place now until the 2015-2016 school year.
We answer 2 key questions districts might have as they plan for transition and implementation.
Are districts required to spend LAP funds on programs and services – in the 2014–15 school year – that meet the first focus obligation of the new law?
No. Not until 2015-2016. Given the timeline defined in
RCW 28A.655.235, districts are not required to meet the first focus requirement — K-4 reading — with their LAP funds. This extra transition year also means that districts will not violate the federal supplant provision through 2014-2015.
- Here’s why: the expenditure of LAP funds will continue to meet the same intent and purposes as Title I, Part A funds and will be excluded from the supplant test — this according to federal rules that govern exceptions to the requirements around supplement not supplant.
For school year 2015–16,
RCW 28A.165.005 makes it mandatory that districts use their LAP funds to meet the first focus requirement — address the needs of students in grades kindergarten through four who struggle with reading or who do not have the readiness skills to improve their reading literacy.
- Section (2) of this RCW states: School districts implementing a learning assistance program shall focus first on addressing the needs of students in grades kindergarten through four who are deficient in reading or reading readiness skills to improve reading literacy.
In 2015-2016, districts must use their LAP funds to serve all schools where 1) 40% or more of third-grade students are below basic and/or 2) for any student who received a score of basic or below basic on the third-grade statewide student assessment in English Language Arts.
We recommend that districts continue to comply with the LAP general guidance during the 2014–15 school year.
For some districts, this makes a second transitional year possible as they
modify services in ways that will meet all the new LAP requirements in 2015–16. If your district has moved forward to make these important changes, you are ahead of the game.
RCW 28A.165.035 (Program activities — Partnerships with local entities — Development and use of state menus of best practices and strategies) states that districts must spend LAP funds according to this RCW in the 2015–16 school year. Are these new requirements mandatory?
Yes. Districts must spend the LAP first focus funds 2 ways.
- Serve all K–4 students in schools with less than 40 % proficiency on the third grade reading state assessment.
- And/or serve any student who received a score of basic or below
basic on the state’s third-grade assessment in English Language Arts.
The Basic Ed Factor. If LAP funds are not sufficient to fund intensive reading and literacy improvement strategies for all students in grades K–4 — not reading at grade level — then districts should use their
Basic Education dollars or other allowable funds to serve all non-proficient students. Districts could consider applying Title I, Part A funds to supplement LAP in eligible Title I, Part A schools.