Resource Explains Post-McCleary Budget Challenges for Schools
Educational Service District 112 has created an online resource for information about funding challenges school districts face in a post-McCleary environment. Every district is affected by recent changes to our education funding model in different ways. Centralia is not exempt from these challenges.
Additional information is available at https://www.esd112.org/schoolfunding/
"While the new legislation resulted in an increase of state funding to education, the ability for districts to fund education locally was dramatically reduced, resulting in significant financial challenges for many school districts. Without a legislative fix, district leaders are bracing for cuts to staff and programs in the coming years in order to maintain financial viability.
The new legislation also left big gaps in funding for special education, school counselors, nurses, and other critical services and has caused significant inequities among school districts (even neighboring school districts) across the state."
"While additional state money has been allocated to education, the state is not fully funding the actual costs of education, particularly special education."
"The ability for districts to fund education at the local level has been severely limited by caps to local levies at $1.50 per $1,000 of assessed property value" or $2,500 per student, whichever is smaller. Property rich, affluent districts receive a far greater benefit per student from their levies than do smaller, poorer districts.
"The reality is that while education costs like operational expenses and salaries continue to increase, resources to fund these expenses have been cut." For example, the state provides $65,216 in allocation for salaries for each teacher. Actual average costs exceed that amount.
Four major factors have caused inequities among distructs and overall reducations in state wide funding for schools:
1. New limiteations to local levies:
"The ability to fund education locally through levies has been severely impacted with some districts losing 20% of their total budget through the new cap of $1.50 per $1,000 assessed property value." In Centralia, our levy was reduced from $5.625 milllion per year, to $3.3 million.
2. Cuts to local effort assistance (LEA):
Districts with lower property values are receiving less equalizing funding from the state, known as LEA funds. Property rich districts can receive up to $2.500 per student from their local levies. Here in Centralia, our levy comes out ot about $956 per student as capped by current law. LEA prvovides funding to bring us up to $1,500 per student. We're still at a $1,000 per student disadvantage compared to more affluent districts.
3. Less $ for Long Serving Teachers:
A new “one-size-fits-all” teacher salary allotment from the state means districts no longer receive additional state funds to compensate long-serving teachers with higher educational attainment. We receive the same funding for a first year teacher as we do for a teacher with 30 years of experience and a masters degree. In Centralia, our average teacher salary exceeds the amount provided by the state allotment.
4. Regionalization Caluclations:
Some school districts with higher costs of living receive regionalization factors to enhance their salary allotment. Some of those districts receive as much as 24 percent more funding per teacher than we do in Centralia.