Equality?

Through I Thought A Think I read an excellent editorial explaining how Governor Gregoire’s slashes to levy equalization will harm poorer and potentially more diverse districts much more than wealthier districts.

In fact, Neal Kirby, the editorial’s author, explains how Aberdeen has:

a 2008 tax rate of $4.16 per 1,000 assessed valuation and raises $1,350 per student. Bellevue, with a tax rate of $0.88, raised $2,039 per student. Bellevue raised 50 percent more funds per student even though Aberdeen had a tax rate four times higher than Bellevue.

Losing district money can result in:

  • the loss of teachers,
  • the elimination of programs helping struggling students,
  • fewer support staff,
  • cuts to non-teaching certificated positions (counselors, librarians, instructional coaches, etc.),
  • higher class sizes, and
  • the loss of administrators.

Once again poorer and more needy districts would be harmed while wealthier and more successful districts would be just fine when uninformed decisions are made. I have heard from a few teachers that cuts to I-728 dollars or benefits would be more equitable. I just hope that the legislature really looks at the ramifications of levy equalization dollars being cut, and I especially hope that Eastern Washington representatives pay close attention to this issue.

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One thought on “Equality?

  1. Ryan

    I like I Thought a Think; it’s one of my favorites! 😉

    This’ll be a really, really interesting one to watch in the upcoming session, because of the scope. At least with a reduction in I-728 money you’re hitting everyone the same way; if you go after levy equalization you’re by definition hitting the districts that are poorer than others, and that’s not going to get us anywhere.

    Take a district like Granger, with a high-ESL, low-SES population. The cut to I-728 would cost them $134,196, which matters, but the cut to levy equalization would be $378,245, nearly three times as much.

    For anyone who wants to follow it more closely, there’s a great excel chart at the OSPI website:

    http://www.k12.wa.us/SAFS/09budprp.asp

    …where you can look up individual districts and see what the impact could be.

    Reply

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