Here is the latest read it and weep update about the Washington state budget disaster. In the Seattle PI.Com blog post, Schools Can’t Hide From State Budget Ax Donna Gordon Blankinship of AP reports:
In the past decade, education spending has gone from close to 50 percent to just above 40 percent of the state budget, despite the fact that some education spending is protected by the constitution.
The key to understanding state spending on education lies in knowing what qualifies as basic education and what does not. The definitions – some obvious, some less so – have been crafted over the years by state lawmakers, with pressure from the Washington Supreme Court.
Paying classroom teachers: basic education. Teacher bonuses for earning national board certification: not basic. Half-day kindergarten: basic. Full-day kindergarten: not.
The list of education programs that can be cut by the Legislature because they do not fall under basic education is relatively short, but they add up to billions of dollars.
Lawmakers this year are looking to cut nearly $5 billion from the state budget for the next two years. Nearly $2 billion will likely come from K-12 education.
Here are the education cuts already on the discussion table for the next biennium, most of which are part of the governor’s budget proposal:
– A total of $1 billion from two different class-size reduction programs, one of which was authorized by voters in 2000 .
– A 6.3 percent cut in levy equalization – money that goes to “property poor” districts that have trouble raising local tax dollars. Many lawmakers oppose this idea, but it would save $39.5 million.
– About $99.5 million in teacher bonuses for earning national board certification.
– A suspension of salary-step increases would cut another $56.3 million from teacher pay.
– Voter-approved teacher cost-of-living raises amounting to $253.3 million.
– About $18.6 million for gifted or “highly capable” education.
– More than $37 million for a variety of teacher training, mentoring and continuing education programs.
– About $57 million would be saved by not expanding all-day kindergarten to more school districts.
– Another $95.6 million would be saved if the state changes the way it supports the replacement of old school buses.
– About $40 million could be saved in the next biennium by putting off the state’s science and math graduation requirements. Eliminating all the graduation requirements related to the High School Proficiency Exam could save more than $84 million.
That list adds up to about $1.7 billion.
Who knows what the next biennial budget will look like?
performed by Billy Joel
“Well we’re living here in Allentown
And they’re closing all the factories down
Out in Bethlehem they’re killing time
Filling out forms, standing in line”
performed by Tracy Chapman
“I’ve got a fast car we’ve got a ticket to anywhere
been workin’ at a convenience store
tryin’ to save just a little bit a money
won’t have to drive to far
just across the border and into the city
you and I can both get jobs
…….what need to be livin'”
Village Ghetto Land
performed by Stevie Wonder
“Children play with rusted cars
Sores cover their hands
Politicians laugh and drink
Drunk to all demands”
Why I Sing the Blues
performed by B.B. King
“I laid in the ghetto flat
Cold and numb
I heard the rats tell the beadbugs
To give the roaches some
And everybody wants to know why I sing the blues
I’ve been around a long time
I’ve really paid my dues”
Dr. Wilda may be contacted at email@example.com
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Dr. Wilda says this about that ©