Education Funding

Washington State Lawmakers Make Education a Top Priority

By Andrew Trotter — May 08, 2007 2 min read

The following offers highlights of the recent legislative sessions. Precollegiate enrollment figures are based on 2006-07 school year data reported by state officials for public elementary and secondary schools. The figures for precollegiate education spending do not include federal flow-through funds, unless noted.

Washington

Lawmakers in Washington state made education the major subject of their 2007 legislative session, increasing school funding and modifying the requirement that all high school students pass portions of the state’s academic test in order to graduate.

Urged on by Gov. Christine Gregoire, a Democrat, who emphasized the need to prepare students for the global economy, and by Superintendent of Public Instruction Terry Bergeson, Democratic-led majorities in both chambers approved new money to help students who have not met standards in math and science and to help teachers improve their professional skills.

Gov. Christine Gregoire

Democrat

Senate:
32 Democrats
17 Republicans


House:
62 Democrats
36 Republicans

Enrollment:
1 million

The state’s two-year budget for the 2007-08 and 2008-09 school years will have $165 million in new money for school districts, including allocations for special education, nonteaching employees in areas such as security and technology, pay equity among districts for nonteaching employees, transportation, technology upgrades, and vocational-equipment replacement.

The legislature also stepped into the controversial area of school districts’ taxing powers by proposing a constitutional amendment to repeal the two-thirds supermajority now required from local voters to approve school levies. If approved in a statewide election in November, the amendment would allow a simple majority of voters to pass school levies, something that districts have been seeking.

Perhaps the most contentious issue of the session, which adjourned April 22, was how to modify the requirement that high school students, beginning with the class of 2008, pass the mathematics section of the 10th grade Washington Assessment of Student Learning, or WASL, as well as the reading and writing sections.

The math requirement, even with alternative assessments that were approved last year, appeared likely to block many students from getting their diplomas next year.

Legislators voted to delay the requirement by five years so that schools could make improvements in math curriculum and instruction.

The bill authorized the state board of education to reinstate the math requirement more quickly if appropriate. It left in place the reading and writing WASL requirements. Lawmakers added alternative assessments in math, reading, and writing that would be offered to students as a substitute for passing the WASL.

Gov. Gregoire has until May 12 to sign the legislation into law.

See Also

See other stories on education issues in Washington. See data on Washington’s public school system.

A version of this article appeared in the May 09, 2007 edition of Education Week

Events

School & District Management Live Event EdWeek Leadership Symposium
Education Week's Premier Leadership Event for K12 School & District Leaders.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Law & Courts Webinar
The Future of Criminal Justice Reform: A Sphere Education Initiative Conversation
America’s criminal justice system is in crisis and calls for reform are dominating the national debate. Join Cato’s Sphere Education Initiative and Education Week for a webinar on criminal justice and policing featuring the nation’s
Content provided by Cato Institute
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Well-Being Webinar
Equity, Care and Connection: New SEL Tools and Practices to Support Students and Adults
As school districts plan to welcome students back into buildings for the upcoming school year, this is the perfect time to take a hard look at both our practices and our systems to build a
Content provided by Panorama Education

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Funding States Are Waffling Over Billions in K-12 Federal Relief. Schools Are Getting Antsy.
Schools in some states have already started spending money from recent federal stimulus packages. Others don’t yet have the dollars in hand.
6 min read
Conceptual image of money dropping into a jar.
iStock/Getty
Education Funding Opinion The COVID-19 Stimulus Money Won’t Last Forever. Here’s What's Next for Schools
There are three important first steps for states to start helping schools prepare now, write two policy experts.
Zahava Stadler & Victoria Jackson
5 min read
a group of people water a lightbulb plant, nurturing an idea
iStock/Getty Images
Education Funding Opinion What Ed. Leaders Can Learn From a Wildfire About Spending $129 Billion in Federal Funds
There are five entrenched routines that leaders should reject to forge a better path forward after the pandemic.
Kristen McQuillan
4 min read
Firefighters fighting fire
akiyoko/iStock/Getty
Education Funding Opinion Does Place-Based Giving Make It Harder for Funders to Get Reliable Feedback?
Big donors can be lulled into underestimating the financial, political, and information constraints of place-based philanthropy.
3 min read
Image shows a multi-tailed arrow hitting the bullseye of a target.
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty