Julie Salvi is a lobbyist at the Washington Education Association. She joins us as a “Wire Insider” to talk about the consequences of the McCleary decision on the Washington K-12 education system.
McCleary education plan passed at the last minute last session without necessarily public hearings or a lot of public input. It came out and was implemented. What happens in a public process is sometimes the unintended consequences are brought up and addressed. Given the speed at which this happened, we’ve spent a lot of time both understanding the bill and looking at where all those possible unintended consequences are.
There’s that bill, there’s also the recent court order that talked about the need to move up the timeline on compensation. So that is both a high priority to address that, and will be something that we’ll have to have continuing conversations about how to fund that.
Two policies may drive some broader effects that people are still trying to understand. One is the fact that staff mix was eliminated so the legislature used to drive education compensation funding based on a salary grid that would adjust. If a district had on average more experienced teachers, or on average a higher percentage of teachers with advanced degrees, then those districts would have higher rates of compensation allocated by the state so that each district could hire essentially the same number of staff with that. So, there’s that, and there’s also the regional pay that was implemented, or the regional adjustments to pay in the allocations and the legislature grouped districts to give some six percent, some twelve percent, some eighteen percent. And there are some border effects there where one district borders another, one gets eighteen percent and the other gets zero. So, those are big changes in the world of K-12 compensation that I think will continue to have a lot of discussion.