Understand the consequences of underfunded K-12 students

Washington Learns & Basic Education Finance Joint Task Force

Washington Learns:

Recent PAST — The Big Vision

· To learn more, go to the WA Learns webpage

· Legislation related to WL

· The WL Final Report 2006

· Listing  of the WL Hearing Materials


Description of WA Learns

The 2005 Legislature passed SB 5441, creating the Washington Learns Steering Committee, which was co-chaired by Governor Gregoire, and advisory committees in early learning, K-12 and higher education. After over a year of intensive study, the advisory committees and the steering committee developed a final report with comprehensive, long-term recommendations for creating a world-class, learner-focused, seamless education system for Washington.

The principles and strategies of Washington Learns are designed to transform our entire education system. It is a long-term goal, and it will require sustained participation by state and local governments, by parents, caregivers, teachers and community members, by business and private enterprise, by every level of educational institution, and by students themselves. Our commitment is to a new education system that will excite learners, invigorate teachers and impress employers.

Please see the legislation link for more information on our legislative successes, or click here for more information on how Governor Gregoire is working to improve education for all Washingtonians.

What is Washington Learns?

Washington Learns, created and led by Governor Chris Gregoire, conducted a top to bottom, 18-month review of Washington’s entire education system, its structure and funding. The recommendations developed by Washington Learns will fundamentally change educational expectations, delivery and results.

To ensure a broad cross-section of ideas and expertise, Governor Gregoire assembled a diverse group of business, community, education, government and minority leaders from all across Washington to create this roadmap for building a world–class education system that prepares all Washington students to succeed in today’s global economy.

Preparing all students to succeed in today’s global economy

· Fully integrate our early learning, K–12 and post-secondary education systems so that the transition from one step to the next is seamless.

· Ensure all children thrive early in life and are prepared to enter school.

· Ensure all students master the skills they need to participate thoughtfully and productively in their work and their communities.

· Close the achievement gap that academically sidelines low-income and minority students.

· Make higher education and workforce training opportunities relevant and affordable so our workforce can compete within a global economy.

Our children hold OUR future in THEIR hands. We must invest in them today to prepare them for the future — and everyone benefits.

The Road to Success

Washington Learns’ 2005 Interim Report spurred significant gains for education in the 2006 legislative session, including:

· Creation of a cabinet-level Department of Early Learning that consolidates more than a half-dozen childcare and early learning programs, giving real focus to helping our youngest learners thrive early in life.

· Programs and funding to help high school students achieve graduation standards.

· Mentor and apprenticeship programs that help middle and high school students prepare for life after graduation whether entering the workforce or college.

Many of the recommendations from the 2006 Final Report were passed by the 2007 legislative session, including:

· Expansion of all-day kindergarten.

· Programs to ensure better math and science teaching and learning.

· Scholarship programs and grants to give more people access to higher education.

Funding Washington Schools

Basic Education Finance (BEF) Joint Task Force:

Near FUTURE — The Many Details of Big Questions

· To learn more, go to the BEF committee’s webpage.

· All reports and docs per BEF Hearing

· The issues on the table for discussion

· Most current reports and submittals from education stakeholders

· BEF Member Roster & Contact Info (PDF)

Description of BEF

The Creation of BEF — FINAL BILL REPORT E2SSB 5627

Brief Description: Requiring a review and development of basic education funding.

Background: In 2005, the Legislature created a comprehensive education study steering committee (Washington Learns) comprised of legislators, the Governor, and others, and three sector advisory committees on which legislators and others served. The Washington Learns steering and advisory committees were directed to conduct a comprehensive study of early learning, K-12, and higher education; to develop recommendations on how the state can best provide stable funding for early learning, public schools, and public colleges and universities; and to develop recommendations on specified policy issues. The steering committee submitted an interim and a final report with recommendations to the Legislature.

Summary: A joint task force is created to review the current basic education definition and funding formulas and develop a new definition and funding structure that aligns with the final report of the Washington Learns steering committee and the basic education provisions in current law. The joint task force consists of 14 members: eight legislators, the Superintendent of Public Instruction, a representative of the Governor's Office or the Office of Financial Management, and four members appointed by the Governor (a chair with experience in finance and knowledge of the K-12 funding formulas, and three members with significant experience with K-12 finance issues). Each of the caucuses may submit names to the Governor for appointment consideration. The Washington Institute for Public Policy (WSIPP) will provide research support and must consult with stakeholders and experts in the field. The WSIPP may request assistance from specified state agencies.

WSIPP must provide an initial, second, and final report to the task force. The initial report must be provided by September 15, 2007, and must include a plan of action with timelines, reporting deadlines, and a timeline that does not exceed six years for implementation of a new funding system. The second report is due by December 1, 2007, and must provide at least two, but not more than four, options for allocating school employee compensation, with one option that is a redirection and prioritization within existing resources based on research proven education programs. Additionally, the second report must provide a finalized timeline and plan for addressing the remaining components of a new funding system. The final report is due by September 15, 2008, (ed: amended to be Dec 1st) and must include recommendations for at least two, but not more than four, options for revising the rest of the K-12 funding structure, with one option that is a redirection and prioritization within existing resources based on research-proven education programs. The final report must include a timeline for phasing in the new funding structure and a projection of the expected effect of the investment made under the new funding structure.

The alternative funding models must consider specified priorities, should reflect the most effective instructional strategies and service delivery models, and be research-based with demonstrated cost benefits. The task force must consider several specified issues. Additionally, the recommendations should provide maximum transparency of the funding system and the structure should be linked to accountability for student outcomes and performance.


- - - - - - - - - -

· Legal Description of BEF—Final Bill Report on Creating BEF 5627 (PDF): The mandates assigned to the committee — what it is to do.

· Final Bill creating Basic Ed Finance Joint Task Force E2SSB-5627 (PDF)

· Preliminary report—Summary of K-12 Studies to BEF (PDF):

· Non-Legislative Organizations Assisting BEF (PDF): Who is advising or supporting the committee and members.

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The Solution on the Horizon — the work of the Basic Education Finance Joint Task Force (BEF)

BEF released their Final Report on January 14, 2009, concluding 18 months of work!  Immediately, in the first week of the 2009 Legislature, companion bills HB-1410 and SB-5444 were dropped in their respective chambers, the State House and Senate. These bills reflect the majority of work and recommendation of BEF, plus some. We fully supported these companion bills.

But fast moving legislation in February moved to new companion bills by Rep. Sullivan, HB 2261, and Senator Oemig, SB 6048.  These new ‘place-holder’ bills were written such that they would pass through committee. Constituent pressure kept the framework and issues alive.

The K-12 Education Funding Reform Bill of 2009, of the decade, ESHB 2261, became law in May 2009— its various components are being implemented in stages by various work groups and committees (primary oversight committee is the Quality Education Council (QEC)). The bill marks the first major change to the definition of Basic Education in over 30 years, with much of the work still to be done by the bill’s work groups, particularly in the areas of finding an adequate funding source for implementation and the evolution of teacher compensation / career professionalization.

Please see the Homepage for more current ed reform activities related to ESHB 2261.

· Talking Points on HB 1410 and SB 5444 - 1-pg overview by League of Education Voters.

· Talking Points on House Bill 1410 and Senate Bill 5444 - overview with explanations; by Barb Billinghurst.

¨ Fund What Kids Need — a flyer for Seattle school audiences, by Ramona Hattendorf

¨ Some Really Big Ideas  - outline of HB1410 & SB5444 —a PowerPoint by Barb Billinghurst.

¨ Overview of Teacher Pay for Performance — by WSIPP.

¨ Our kids can’t wait” - a current article on the current status of funding progress, from WA State PTA

· Detailed Comparison Chart of HB 1410 to HB1817 - by League of Education Voters.

· Comparison of Current Law, House Bill 1817 and House Bill 1410 - prepared by WA Legislature staff (SB5444 is the identical companion bill in the Senate to HB1410 in the House).

Video of the initial public hearings for January 26th and January 28th AM or PM.

Recommendations of the Joint Task Force on Basic Education Finance An Overview, presented to The House Education Appropriations and House Education Committee on January 28, 2009 - prepared by Ben Rarick & Barbara McLain.

Jan. 14, 2009 - Final Report: Basic Education Finance Joint Task Force Indications are that the Task Force will recommend a big increase in education funding that would likely be phased-in over a 6 -year period (or maybe up to 10 years).

Outline of the Report, recommendations going to the Legislature (as of January 5, 2009).

The Basic Education Finance JTF (aka BEF), a bipartisan committee appointed by the Governor, is charged with redefining basic education and developing appropriate funding structures — big stuff. This legislature Task Force will be proposing new solutions, in the form of legislative bills (perhaps 4-5 packaged together) for the state Legislature to take up in its 2009 session.



2012 - Blog on WA Ed Funding by Rep. Ross Hunter - Chair Ways & Means

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