School Funding Task Force Work Plan

At the school funding task force meeting this morning we discussed and adopted the a work plan for the exercise. The document describing this work plan is available here: Initial Plan for K-12 funding policy development . Below is the intro text from this document:

In January the Washington State Supreme Court ruled (in McCleary) that the state was not meeting its constitutional obligation to “amply provide for the education of all students residing within its borders…” The decision was unanimous, and came with a very strong enforcement model from the court that is still being worked out.

The exact implications of this decision will require a lot of interpretation from both the Legislature and the Court. There are some parts of the school funding equation that are broadly agreed to, and others that will be affected in significant ways by the actions the Legislature takes to meet the demands of McCleary.

This document lays out an approach to develop a proposal for the 2013 legislative session. It seems like the following order makes the most sense.

  • Begin with the end in mind – what’s needed? We start by coming to agreement on the funding demands – how much money will be required, when will it need to be distributed, on what will it be spent, and how will it be distributed to school districts.
  • Review funding options. There are several ways that the demands identified in step 1 can be addressed.
  1. Re-arrange the existing budget. The budget proviso that creates this task force requires that we consider a no-new revenue option with specifics on the structural changes that would have to happen if the new funding comes out the existing revenue streams.
  2. New revenue streams. The task force may also consider new revenue alternatives.
  3. Changes in local and state responsibilities. The task force may also choose to consider changing the relationships of local and state property tax levies.
  • Make recommendations. The task force is required to make proposals, including draft legislation, before the end of the year.

Author: Ross

I am the Director of the Department of Early Learning for Washington State. I formerly represented the 48th Legislative District in the State House of Representatives, chairing the Appropriations committee and spent many a year at Microsoft.