Did you know Washington State ranks 35th in the nation in funding per student? We can change that! Our new PTA Legislative Chair, Ali McKay, has sent along the following information and guidelines for parents interested in taking action this week on the state’s failure to fund public education in Washington state. Scroll down for a helpful call script and email template. Thanks, Ali!
The 2017 State budget fails to fully fund basic education:
- The State Supreme Court has told the Legislature that the 2018–19 school year education budget is short by $1 billion.
- Under this budget, net funding for Seattle Public Schools only goes up by about 1%, and after two years, it actually goes down. Though state funding has increased, our local levy funding will be taken away.
- Even if we address the $1 billion shortfall, in Seattle the new budget merely maintains the inadequate status quo (huge class sizes, woefully inadequate lack of support staff)—it does not provide significant new funding.
- In 2018–19, Seattle Public Schools will have a $58 million gap in Special Education, a $34 million gap in salaries for classified staff (secretaries, aides, custodians, etc.), and a $10 million gap in salaries for certificated staff (Superintendent, principals, assistant principals, etc.).
- In the past these gaps have been filled by local city levies, but a new law prohibits the use of local levies to raise additional money for basic education.
- Here are some shocking examples of what the state feels is sufficient for the basic education of ALL 53,000 students in Seattle: 9 full time nurses, 7 social workers, 5 family involvement coordinators, 161 principals (SPS actually hires 190).
- Finally, we can’t achieve the lower class sizes unless we build more schools. According to the State, school construction is not part of a basic education.
How to help: Contact your legislators!
If you are in the 43rd district contact:
Frank Chopp, Speaker of the House, Representative: (360) 786-7920
Nicole Macri, Representative: (360) 786-7826
Jamie Pedersen, Senator: (360) 786-7628
Or you can find your house reps and senator here: http://app.leg.wa.gov/mobile/FindYourLegislator/
Email any representative from this link (email template below for you to use): https://app.leg.wa.gov/pbc/memberEmail/43/1
My name is ___, I’m a registered voter in [zip code]. I’m calling about funding education. I believe we must:
- Fund the billion-dollar gap that the State Supreme Court has identified in the education budget, without cutting social services and without using the rainy day fund.
- Institute a progressive and sustainable revenue source for the extra $1 billion (e.g. capital gains tax, closing business tax loopholes).
- Make sure no school district gets less under this budget than it would have otherwise.
- Remove the levy cap until state funds are adequate to fill all gaps in basic education.
If you have time, add:
- Amend the Constitution to allow a simple majority for the passage of school construction bonds. [Currently, bonds require a 60% supermajority and a voter minimum requirement of at least 40% of the voters in the preceding general election.]
- Increase staffing at schools to meet student needs.
Fill in and modify (customization is good!):
I am a parent with kid[s] at Lowell Elementary in Seattle. I am writing to express my support for fulling funding basic education in Washington State and Seattle. Our kids deserve better! Fully funding basic education includes, at a minimum:
– funding the billion dollar gap that the State Supreme Court has identified in the education budget, without cutting social services and without using the rainy day fund.
– instituting a progressive and sustainable revenue source for that $1 billion such as a capital gains tax and closing business tax loopholes.
– making sure no school district gets less under this budget than it would have otherwise.
– removing the levy cap until state funds are adequate to fill all gaps in basic education.
– amending the Constitution to allow a simple majority for the passage of school construction bonds.
– increasing staffing at schools to meet student needs.
Washington State lags behind most other states in investing in our kids and our future. We need to make significant and immediate changes to equitably fund education, and I support your advocating strongly for those changes!
On February 27, 6–8pm Leschi Elementary PTA is presenting a panel discussion: “K–12 Education Funding and the Effects on Seattle Public Schools” featuring school board members Zachary DeWolf and Jill Geary and Seattle Councilmembers Kshama Sawant and Lisa Herbold, as well as experts from the Seattle Council PTA and the district. For a full description, see the Facebook event at https://m.facebook.com/events/1380484695389273/
And here’s a helpful article: