Saturday, March 3, 2012

Budget: On to compromise talks

The Senate passed a budget around 1 a.m. last night, using a procedural move to consider a proposal that did not move out of the Senate Ways and Means Committee and that did not get a public hearing.

If there had been a hearing, Washington State PTA would have expressed strong concerns about cuts to education programs that benefit disadvantaged youth, and cuts to programs that keep children safe.

In the new Senate budget, $18 million has been cut from Children and Family Services; $202 million from Temporary Assistance for Needy Families  and Working Connections Child Care; and $44 million from K-12 public education. In the version written by the Ways and Means chair, no cuts were made to education and children’s services were protected.  A key difference is the budget passed does not delay by one day a $330 million apportionment payment.

TAKE ACTION: All members are strongly encouraged to contact their legislators and  ask them to pass a budget that puts children first, MESSAGE:

Please look out for kids.
  • Protect their health and safety as well as their education.
  • Fund programs that keep kids in school and on track.
  • Fund their education ombudsman office.
  • Make immediate progress toward fully funding Basic Education as promised in 2009.
If there is a particular program or bill you support be sure to cite it. If you want negotiators to consider revenue, be sure to say that. Revenue bills and cuts that conflict with WSPTA priorities are noted below.

The House and Senate will now work on a compromise budget and work to pass any bills necessary to pass the budget.  Several bills could be in the mix that would increase revenue.  Including:

In the House:

  • HB 2791 - repeals the non-resident sales tax exemption; puts saving into an account to fund all-day kindergarten
  • HB 2563 – establishes a sales tax on capital gains

In the Senate

  • SB 5903 - limits the B&O tax deduction for first mortgage interest deduction to banks located in ten or fewer states, and modifies the sales & use tax exemption for renewable energy equipment by removing wind generating machinery and equipment. Puts savings into reducing K-3 class sizes.
The session is set to end March 8; some believe a special session is now inevitable due to the differences between the House and Senate budgets.

Cuts of concern outside of the K-12 budget include:
  • EDUCATION OMBUDSMAN - Funding is cut by 30 percent for the Office of the Education Ombudsman, which will result in fewer staff to resolve conflict and provide information to parents, students, and others regarding their rights and responsibilities in the state's public elementary and secondary education system.  (Cut: $320,000, retroactive; House budget cuts $28,000. Note: OEO funding is part of the budget for the Governor’s Office.)

  • INCREASE CASELOAD RATIOS FOR CHLDREN AND FAMILY SERVICES - Effective May 1, 2012, the client-to-social worker ratios for Child and Family Welfare, Family Voluntary Services, and Home Study will increase. (Cut: $6.5 million)

  • JUVENILE DETENTION ALTERNATIVES INITIATIVE and WASHINGTON MENTORING programs are eliminated beginning April 1, 2012. The Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative provides coordinators for counties to divert youth from Juvenile Rehabilitation Administration institutions. The Washington Mentoring Program supports 34,000 youth in Washington State. (Cut: $597,000)

  • SCHOOL BASED MEDICAL - Effective April 1, 2012, state funds will no longer be available for school-based medical services.  This will increase some districts' special education costs and qualify those districts for additional safety net funding, which in turn increases the state's safety net costs for Fiscal Year 2013. (Cut: $3.4 million)
Cuts to K-12 that directly affect students or touch on our priorities include:

  • ACHIEVERS SCHOLARS - Mentoring is provided to low-income high school students in their junior and senior years of high school and into their freshman year of college. As of Fiscal Year 2013, funding for this service is eliminated. (Cut: $675,000; House cuts $67,000)

  • BUILDING BRIDGES - Comprehensive dropout prevention, intervention, and retrieval. As of Fiscal Year 2013, funding for this program is eliminated. (Cut: $337,000)
  • PASS PROGRAM - The Promoting Actual Student Success (PASS) program started during Fiscal Year 2012. Funding for this program provides enhanced support for College Bound Outreach, the Building Bridges program, the Jobs for America's Graduates program, and the Opportunity Internship program. As of Fiscal Year 2013, this additional funding for the activities through the PASS program is eliminated. (Cut: $1.5 million)

  • JOBS FOR AMERICA’S GRADUATES - As of Fiscal Year 2013, funding for the dropout prevention program is eliminated. (Cut: $135,000; House cut $14,000)

  • NAVIGATION 101 - The Navigation 101 program provides grants and technical assistance to school districts to provide student guidance curriculum and individual planning and ensure student career and college readiness. Beginning in Fiscal Year 2013, funding for the program is eliminated. (Cut: $2.8 million)

  • RUNNING START - Running start provides students a program option consisting of attendance at certain institutions of higher education and the simultaneous earning of high school and college/university credit. Current funding is provided up to 1.2 FTE. Beginning in school year 2012-13, funding is reduced to a maximum of 1.0 FTE. (Cut: $8.4 million)

  • READINESS TO LEARN - The Readiness to Learn program provides grants to school and community consortia to support students and families with the goal of ensuring that all children are able to attend school prepared to learn. As of Fiscal Year 2013, state funding for the grants is eliminated. (Cut: $3.2 million)

  • CTE START-UP GRANTS - Career and Technical Education (CTE) Start-Up Grants provide funding to middle schools, high school, or skill centers to upgrade high-demand CTE programs. Additionally, the funding for OSPI also requires support of FIRST Robotics, a national program, that is funded through a combination of public and private sources, and oriented toward Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) subject areas. As of Fiscal Year 2013, state funding for the grants is eliminated. (Cut: $977,000)

  • MIDDLE/HIGH SCH APPLIED MATH/SCI/EN - Grant funds for middle- and high-school applied mathematics, science, & engineering technical education programs are eliminated as of Fiscal Year 2013. (Cut: $125,000)

  • NATIONAL BOARD BONUS CHANGE- This program provides annual bonuses to teachers who have earned their National Board certification. An additional Challenging School bonus is provided to Nationally Board certified teachers who teach in a school with a high enrollment of students eligible for the free and reduced price lunch program. For the 2011-13 Biennium, the annual bonus is $5,090 and the challenging bonus is an additional $5,000 per year. Beginning with bonuses earned for school year 2011-12, the annual base bonus will be $2,500 rather than $5,090; first-year recipients bonuses will not be pro-rated but will be paid at the full amount; and bonuses will be limited to a five-year term. Challenging bonuses will remain unchanged. (Cut: $18 million; House cut $8.3 million)


  1. Normally, I'd be following this type of WSPTA posting, taking action, and spreading the word to other parents around my district and the state.

    But, sadly, since WSPTA took a large sum of money from "Educational Reformers" and then---not coincidentally---came out in favor of charter schools, I am starting to wonder if I can trust what you're telling us; in any area.

    As a parent of a second grader, I want the very best education, not just for my own child, but every child in his class, his school and this entire state. Charter schools have never achieved better results than public schools. And they tear school communities apart, pitting one group of parents against other for increasingly scarce resources.

    Charter schools remove the best students, and set up our public schools for failure.

    And maybe that's why charter schools are being pushed by the wealthy few---who, ironically, never send their own kids to a public school.

    The "Pro Charter Schools" stance was slipped in to WSPTA without any time for we parents to see it, review it, and discuss it. This egregious, backdoor action showed little respect for us, our children, and the teachers who work with them.

    Charter schools are a "Trojan Horse" designed by the wealthy few to infiltrate our schools, create division between families, engender distrust and resentment, and further weaken our public schools.

    Again, I'm outraged and deeply saddened that this has happened. I'm still trying to understand why these pieces of silver from the "reformers" would be worth the long-standing, highly credible, sterling reputation the WSPTA had for decades.

    Parents like me are angry, but we're willing to forgive if you reconsider this terrible position. I would truly hate to walk away from WSPTA and urge all parents to do the same.

    I don't want my contributions---modest as they might be---supporting this insidious effort. Please reconsider what you've chosen to do. Your good name and trust depends on it.

  2. Working Mom,
    Did you attend the PTA Region 6 charter school forum this week? When asked about the "large sum of money from education reformers", WSPTA's Ramona Hattendorf made it clear that the Gates money was a tiny amount AND WAS TO BE USED TO HELP START PTAs IN SCHOOLS THAT DID NOT HAVE THEM.
    That is unrelated to charters (which is a minor PTA position) and seems to be in line with WSPTA's mission.

  3. Unfortunately, a previous commitment kept me from attending the forum last week. I'd like to see both a tape and a transcript of the meeting.

    I didn't see anything in writing from the Gates Foundation or the WSPTA, explicitly stating how this $174K from Gates was to be used. If you have a link on that, and can post it here, I'd like to see it.

    And, even if this funding was specified for that purpose, was it granted with the implicit understanding that the WSPTA would carry forward a formal endorsement of the charter schools legislation? And wasn't it important for the Education Privatization lobbyists to be able to cite the "WSPTA Support" as they descended upon our legislature this session?

    Is there any reason to believe that this grant was not a factor in the WSPTA support for charters and, in effect, a Quid Pro Quo from a man who has carefully crafted a "good guy billionaire" image and is thus, very hard to turn down?

    1. Hi - This is Ramona Hattendorf. So sorry Working Mom that you will not be supporting efforts to better fund our schools and fund essential programs that keep children healthy and safe. Kids could use your voice.

      Per your posting: The charter forum was taped by both the Seattle Channel and Fox; when a video link is available we will post it. Seattle Channel said to expect it sometime this week. We do not have and will not be providing written transcripts but we have gotten permission from most of the participants to post what they shared. I will post a link on this blog when that is up.

      As for the charter position, it was put forth by members, was reviewed by committee and board and discussed and voted on at legislative assembly. The vote was close -- a 19 vote difference. And contrary to Internet rumors, formal floor debate occured, minutes were taken and advance notice was given. State PTA functions follow strict formal procedure. (Members of at least 30 days can request minutes. But we don't release personal information about attendees -- something that has been requested by some who did not agree with how the vote turned out.)

      Per the concern members did not know about our legislative assembly and the issues under discussion -- we have a formal legislative assembly every fall and we invite all units to get involved. This year, to raise awareness, we emailed out a survey to every member we had an email address for asking for input on each of the proposed platform issues -- including charters. We then shared this information with voting delegates. The survey was also available on the web for download for local units to distrubute. We also sent an agenda to each PTA letting them know what was on the agenda and what was up for vote. We also posted the agenda and survey results on our website, posted on various listservs and communicated the information via Leadership News, which your local unit leaders should receive. WSPTA uses a delegate process -- each unit has voice and vote and each unit decides on its own how it will vote and what it will support. The board has 1 vote and staff have no votes. Issues come from members and are decided by delegates sent by local units. It is a process similar to that used in our state legislature. The state charter position was for this legislative session, but there is also a National PTA position that gives qualified support for charter public schools. It is similar to positions of support from the national teachers unions. As for the grant from the Gates Foundation, it helps fund a project to strengthen existing PTAs and support new PTAs in schools and communities with large numbers of children from low-income families, and enable the association to engage non-English speaking parents. It will also be used to build public awareness around college readiness both within the association and in the general population. Approximately 70% of adults do not currently have children in school and many of them do not appreciate the significance of the changes in job expectations that have developed in the last two decades. You can find links to all of our positions at There is also a form up to submit a proposal for our new 2-year legislative platform -- to be voted on this October by delegates.