Monday, September 29, 2014

FY2015 Appropriations

FY2015 officially begins October 1, 2014, with the FY2014 budget set to expire on September 30. Last week, to prevent another government shutdown, Congress passed a Continuing Resolution (CR) that extends funding levels through December 11.  The Senate roll call vote can be found here and the House vote here.

The CR extends the current funding levels from the FY2014 Omnibus Appropriations Act, under all terms and conditions, through December 11, 2014. However, due to the annualized rate of spending in FY2015, the CR included an across-the-board cut of 0.0554% in order to conform with the FY2014 spending cap. For Department of Education programs, that would be a cut of $37.3 million. However, since almost all ED programs are forward funded, that cut will only affect a small number of programs during the period of the CR. Because the CR was an extension, very few changes were made to the bill itself and National PTA did not take an official position (an earlier letter sent by our coalition partners expressing our support for the FY2014 Omnibus Approps Act is available at 

Congress is now adjourned until after the November elections and right now both the Senate and House are scheduled to return on Tuesday, November 12 for a lame duck session.  When they return, these cuts in the current CR could be replaced by FY2015 spending bill. We will keep you posted on FY2015 developments, as there are several different paths Congress could take including another CR through the end of the year/spring or passing a full or partial FY2015 spending bill. 

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

SBE Adopts Resolution on the McCleary School Funding Decision and School Funding Proposals Entertained During the 2015 Legislative Session

On September 10, 2014, the Washington State Board of Education, in view of its statutory responsibility to provide strategic oversight of the public education system, voted to adopt a resolution suggesting guiding principles to the Legislature in the performance of its duties to ensure that ample provision is made for all students residing within its borders, in a general and uniform system of public schools.

  1. Any consideration of delaying the timeline for compliance with McCleary orders should be weighed against the consequences those delays will have on entering cohorts of kindergarten students and their opportunity to ultimately realize the goals of the program of basic education.
  1. The Board affirms that there can be no credible plan to make ample provision for public schools that does not include new revenue to the state budget.
  1. Proposals to increase funding for public schools by decreasing funding in other state programs should be viewed not merely through the lens of Court compliance, but also in view of the ultimate impact on students and their families.  Scaling back social service programs, or early and higher education programs, may help narrowly satisfy Court compliance requirements but may also compromise progress towards the goals of the program of basic education.
  1. A comprehensive school funding solution should include a substantial increase in the state funding share accompanied by some additional clarity on the intended limits of local levy authority or spending.  However, proposals that seek to merely exchange taxing authority between the state and local governments in a revenue neutral way, such that overall funding to public schools remains roughly constant while only the source of revenues changes, are highly unlikely to materially improve outcomes for students and families.  What is needed is not different dollars; what is needed is more dollars.
  1. The Board further affirms that a comprehensive statewide accountability program continues to be an essential element to any significant McCleary investment in public schools.  In addition to school-level accountability, such a system should include explicit goals for student outcomes at a system-wide level, as well as self-imposed, reciprocal elements of accountability for the Legislature in the event that it cannot fulfill its duties under law, even as schools and students are expected to fulfill theirs.
  1. The Board affirms that Washington’s system of public schools has the potential to be the best in the world, and could serve as a case study of best practice public education for other states and nations.  The Board urges the Legislature to embrace this challenge, and to process all school funding decisions with the success of each student in mind. 
Source: Washington State Board of Education

Friday, September 12, 2014


Applications now are available to recognize the WSPTA’s Outstanding Advocate to be awarded at the WSPTA Legislative Assembly on October 24-25 in Vancouver, Washington. Applications are due September 15, 2014. The WSPTA Outstanding Advocate award recognizes and honors an individual for continued and dedicated service to ALL children, and a demonstrated commitment to helping create strong policies relating to the health, welfare, safety, and education of children and youth. For the application form, click here.