Special Report


January 04, 2005 1 min read

Washington assumes full responsibility for financing education, although the state still uses federal money to help in doing so. Districts are not required to provide any local funding, but they may supplement state aid with local revenue. State aid is primarily distributed based on student enrollment, which then determines the number of instructional, administrative, and staff positions necessary in each district. The state then multiplies the required positions by their respective salary levels, based on district averages. Staffing ratios are determined by the different grade levels served, the number of students in vocational education, district enrollment growth, and school size. In addition to the full-state-funding portion of the education finance system, the state provides supplemental aid to property-poor districts to equalize local tax efforts. The state also provides aid to districts through categorical programs. The state has such programs for special education, transportation, bilingual education, gifted-and-talented students, reading initiatives, capital outlays and debt service, vocational education, class-size reduction, and technology. The nine categorical programs in the state added up to almost $1.3 billion in state aid for fiscal 2004. The state is one of several working with the Washington-based Council of Chief State School Officers to determine the costs of carrying out the federal No Child Left Behind Act.