Situation and Solution 2.28.2
The WA Supreme Court confirmed what every parent knows ? That there is no more vital duty of state government than the education of our children. We respectfully submit that no budget will honor the will of the people, the McCleary decision, the Constituion and as the current budget writers are saying "fully fund basic education" unless ALL full-time students in public schools receive their full time FTE funding for their basic education. The proposed Supplemental Budget as it moves to the floor of the House for amending and adoption, does not fully fund the FTE for thousands of students in state-approved online pubic schools needed to deliver their basic education.
2005 ? Legislature (SB5828) allowed school districts to receive full 1.0 FTE funding to deliver basic education to students in their online public schools. It required the same rules and regulations of all public schools and mandated additional accountability.
2009 - The Legislature restructured educational funding and enacted additional mandates (SB5410) on online schools including establishing the Digital Learning Department (DLD) under OSPI solely to govern and regulate online public schools. District programs must pass rigorous DLD evaluation before funding students in online schools. DLD can, and has, shut down an online school not meeting the legislative mandates.
2011 - In the Sine Die budget deal, the state budget "saved" by cutting the FTE (Full Time Equivalent) of students in online public schools from 1.0 FTE to .8 or .9 FTE ? below what the WA State Supreme Court concluded was already too low and violated the law.
How can legislators claim to "fully fund basic education" when thousands of full-time students are left behind only receiving part of their Full Time Equivalent?
WHY THE 1.0 FTE IS NEEDED TO DELIVER EVERY STUDENT'S BASIC EDUCATION
FTE stands for Full Time Equivalent. It is how school districts count the number of students to report to the state for basic education funding. One full time student = one FTE.
Over a million public school students each get exactly 1.0 FTE or the fraction they are enrolled (half day Kindergarteners get half an FTE). School district reports show the FTE pays the costs of teachers, teaching materials and staff ?in both online and traditional schools. FTEs do not pay for buildings and buses that are funded in separate budgets. Some students get an enhanced 1.2 FTE to pay college costs for Running Start, but never in the history of the state, until last Sine Die, has a full-time public school student received less than a 1.0 Full Time Equivalent. The FTE provides for a student's basic education, regardless of whether it is delivered online or in a more traditional setting.
FULLY FUND ALL PUBLIC SCHOOL STUDENT'S BASIC EDUCATION WITH A 1.0 FTE