Understand the consequences of underfunded K-12 students

Glossary of Terms, Committees, Programs & History

Alphabetical Listing of Terms

This page is always in progress ….

Achievement Gap: Differences in academic performance among groups; often identified by race, ethnicity, and income level.

Act: A bill that is adopted by the Legislature.

AYP (Adequate Yearly Progress): The minimum level of improvement that states, school districts, and schools must achieve each year.

Basic Education: The concept of Basic Education legally defines a specific set of K-12 education programs. The State’s Basic Education funding is the biggest piece of the “K-12 Funding Pie” and the state legislature is legally required to fund the Basic Education programs, which are:

· General Apportionment

· Special education

· Vocational education

· Learning Assistance Program,

· Pupil Transportation

· Juvenile Detention Center and State Institution Education programs.

Basic Education Act: In response to a lawsuit initiated in 1976 by Seattle School District, State Superior Court Judge Doran directed the state legislature to define and fully fund a program of basic education for all students in Washington. In the following legislative session, the Legislature adopted the Basic Education Act of 1977. The court case and this landmark law redefined the state role and continue to shape the school funding policy in Washington.

Basic Education Finance Joint Task Force (BEF, BEFJTF, or JTF): A joint task force is created (bill E2SSB 5627) 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.

Benchmark: A detailed description of a specific level of student achievement expected of students at particular ages, grades, or developmental levels.

Biennium: Two-year period. The Washington State fiscal biennium is from July 1 of odd numbered years to June 30, two years later.

Bill: A proposed law presented to the Legislature for consideration.

Bipartisan: Cooperative effort by the two major political parties.

Bond: Funds raised by a school district for construction and related activities for school facilities.

Capital Budget: Appropriations made to state and local agencies for building construction projects (buildings, etc).

Caucus: A formal meeting of members of a group to discuss and strategize about an issue.

Certificated Staff:

Certified Staff:

Class size:

COLA: Cost Of Living Adjustment to state-paid staff salaries

Conference Committee: A committee appointed to discuss specific differences of opinion between the House and the Senate on bills which have passed each house but with differing positions on one or more amendments.

Doran Decisions: First decision (1977) found that state funding for education was insufficient for funding a basic education. It required 180 days per year, a minimum instruction time, and certificated staff/student ratios. The second decision (1983) included categorical programs (special education, remediation or LAP, bilingual education, and pupil transportation.

EALRs: The Essential Academic Learning Requirements (EALRs) for all content areas were initially developed beginning with the Basic Education Act of 1993. The EALRs describe the learning standards for grades K-10. The Grade Level Expectations (GLEs) represent a new degree of specificity being developed for each content area for grades K-10.


ELL aka English Language Learners: Program to assist students of non-English speaking origin to learn the English language.

ESEA (Elementary and Secondary Education Act): Primary federal law affecting K-12 education and reauthorized by Congress every six years.

Federal Impact Aid: After the Second World War, Congress realized that local districts’ ability to generate revenue from property taxes for support of public schools is often severely reduced by federal acquisition of property, such as federal Indian reservation and military reservations. Such property is nontaxable. This issue was resolved by what is now known as Title VIII of the ESEA Act, School Assistance in Federally Affected Areas for Maintenance and Operation.

Focused Assistance to Schools: Funds were appropriated to OSPI in the Education Reform Act, HB 1290, requiring the establishment of educational audits of low-performing schools. The school would then enter into a performance agreement with OSPI to implement the recommendations of the audit. Educational audits would include recommendations for best practices and ways to address the identified needs.

FTE: Full Time Equivalent—a measurement of employee time used in funding formulas.

Funding Formula:

General Budget:

General Apportionment: :

Grandfathered: Accepted as it was prior to a law implementing changes; an exception carried over.

IDEA (Individual with Disabilities Education Act): Federal law that specifies requirements for educating students with disabilities.

I-732: Initiative 732 (I-732), approved by state voters in November 2000, required the state to provide an annual cost-of-living salary adjustment (COLA) for K-12 teachers and other public school employees and certain community and technical college staff, beginning in school year 2002. Each school district must distribute the cost of living the COLA in accordance with the district's salary schedules, collective bargaining agreements, and compensation policies and certify that the district spent the funds for COLAs.

In 2003, the Legislature suspended the COLA requirement for the 2003- 05 biennium (school years 2004 and 2005), and no COLA was provided with the exception of a few targeted salary increases for beginning teachers and classified staff. Additionally, the Legislature modified the COLA provisions for K-12 employees so that the state is only required to fund costs associated with providing the COLA to state-funded employees. Since all staff receives the COLA, this means that the costs associated with providing a COLA for locally and federally funded staff will have to come from those sources.

For the 2007-09 biennium (fiscal years 2008 and 2009), approximately $380 million was appropriated for I-732 salary increases for state-funded K-12 employees.

I-728: Initiative 728 (I-728), approved by state voters in November 2000, transfers a portion of the state property tax from the state general fund to the Student Achievement Fund (SAF). The SAF is then distributed to school districts to use for class size reduction, extended learning opportunities for students, professional development for educators, early childhood programs, and necessary building improvements to support class size reductions or extended learning opportunities. The initiative provided school districts $184 per full-time equivalent (FTE) student in the 2001-02 school year, $208 per FTE student in the 2002-03 school year, $212 per FTE student in the 2003- 04 school year, and $450 per FTE student in the 2004-05 school year. In subsequent years, the amount would increase by inflation.

As depicted on the chart (sic - in the Citizen’s Guide to K-12 Finance) below, in 2003, the Legislature reduced the distribution of the I-728 funds so that school districts received $254 per FTE student in the 2004-05 school year; $300 per FTE student in the 2005-06 school year; and $375 per FTE student in the 2006-07 school year. In the 2007-08 school year, school districts are receiving $450 per FTE student. In subsequent years, the amount will be increased by inflation.

In 2005, while not changing the amount of per student distributions in each respective school year, the Legislature directed a portion of the revenue generated from an increase in the cigarette tax and the reinstatement of a modified state estate tax to support the per student distributions. This means that beginning in the 2005-06 school year, the per student distributions are now supported from property, cigarette, and estate taxes. For the 2007-09 biennium (fiscal years 2008 and 2009), a total of $869.8 million is anticipated to be distributed to school districts from the SAF.

Additionally, I-728 transferred varying percentages of state lottery revenues to the SAF for fiscal years 2001-2004 to partially support the per student distributions previously described and for deposit in the Education Construction Account (ECA). Since fiscal year 2005, all of the lottery revenues have been deposited into the ECA, which is used to fund a portion of the state matching funds for K-12 public school and higher education construction projects

LAP: Learning Assistance Program.

Levy Base: A percentage of what the district receives from state and some federal funding.

Levy Equalization: State provides some additional funds to help areas with low property values which are designed to equalize property poor and property rich districts. Also known as local effort assistance (LEA).

Levy Lid: A cap on the amount a school district is allowed to raise based on a percentage of a district’s levy base.

Levy—Local, aka Local Levy: A tax passed by voters to raise funds locally. School districts raise funds through a property tax to support programs beyond what the State funds for basic education. These monies provide operating funds for maintenance and operations, equipment purchases, and transportation.

Levy—M&O aka Maintenance and Operation Levy:

Lunch Assist Program:

M&O Levy: see Levy-M&O:

NCLB (No Child Left Behind): The new name for the ESEA Act reauthorized in January 2002.

Operating Budget: Two year plan of funding ongoing activities of state agencies, except transportation.

OSPI—Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction: Oversees public instruction in Washington and led by State Superintendent of Public Instruction (Dr. Terry Bergeson currently).

Partisan: Uncooperative effort unilaterally performed by just one of the major political parties

PDF: A universal file format by Adobe created with and for computers —files may be viewed with the free Adobe Acrobat Reader application download— http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/readstep2.html

PowerPoint Slideshow: A presentation slideshow created with the computer program Microsoft PowerPoint—may be shared or shown by computer file or printed to paper. Files may be viewed with the free download of the PowerPoint Viewer available at http://www.microsoft.com/Downloads/details.aspx?familyid=048DC840-14E1-467D-8DCA-19D2A8FD7485&displaylang=en .

Referendum: Recently passed legislation referred by the Legislature to the voters for their rejection or enactment

Regular Apportionment: Funding defined as basic education outside of categorical programs

Revised Code of Washington (RCW): Codification (listing) of current statues as enacted and amended

School Board:

School District:

School Improvement Process: Schools that have not made adequate yearly progress must undergo a process of improvement that can include improvement plans, technical assistance, school choice, new staff and/or curriculum, supplemental services, and complete restructuring depending on how long the school has not met progress goals.

Session: Official meeting of the Legislature. The Constitution provides for one 105-day regular session during odd-numbered years and one 60-day session during even-numbered years

Special Session: A session of not more than 30 days, convened by the Governor or the Legislature following adjournment of the regular session

Supplemental Budget: Changes in the second year of the biennium to funds allocated in the original capital, operating, or transportation budget

Simple Majority: A requirement in passing levies of 50% plus one vote—versus a super majority which is a 60% plus one vote

Special Education: An education program for

Superintendent: State or local chief administrator—the “CEO” or president of the administrative organization.

Third Reading: The final consideration of a bill before either house; the bill can be debated, tabled, referred, but not amended. Final passage takes a constitutional majority (25 in the Senate and 50 in the house).

Title I: The nation’s largest federal education program (Part one of the ESEA) providing remedial education programs to poor and disadvantaged children

Washington Learns (WL): 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.

WASA (Washington Association of School Administrators): A professional association representing education administrators in Washington State

Washington Administrative Code (WAC): Code stating how agencies shall organize and adopt rules and regulations

Washington State Board of Education: Board responsible for overseeing the implementation of laws enacted by the legislature. The Board's primary policy areas presently are: educator preparation and certification requirements, state minimum high school graduation requirements, school construction funding, private school approval, school accreditation, school district approval, and election of Educational Service District boards.

WEA (Washington Education Association): A professional association representing public school, college, and other education employees

WSSDA (Washington State School Directors’ Association): A professional association representing the state’s locally elected school board members.


Funding Washington Schools

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