Note: this post was updated with more details Oct. 27
Gov. Chris Gregoire just released a list of possible budget reductions. And education, especially higher education, is taking quite a hit.
Gregoire’s budget cut list includes about $4.2 billion in cuts for the rest of the 2011-13 biennium. However, about $2 billion of those cuts are what Gregoire plans to include in her 2012 supplemental budget request to the Legislature in November when the special session starts.
In all, proposed education cuts range from $545 million to $1.5 billion, with the lesser option being what Gregoire will likely proposed to the Legislature.
Last month, state agencies, including colleges, sent the governor’s office information about what 5 and 10 percent budget cuts would mean for them. These cuts are even deeper than that.
Here is a look at areas poised for cuts, with notes about areas Gregoire will be suggesting in her supplemental budget request. For the list that was release by Gregoire’s office, click here.
Department of Early Learning
- reduce seasonal child care administration, saving $2.1 million. This eliminates state funding given to nonprofits to help migrant workers with childcare. (Likely in supplemental request)
- Eliminate state funding for Child Care Resource and Referral program, saving $1.3 million. This would reduce services by about 11 percent, since most of the funding comes from the federal government. (Likely in supplemental request)
- Reduce administration within the department, saving $950,000. (Likely in supplemental request)
- Reduce enrollment in the Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program by 11 to 25 percent, saving between $6 and $14 million. This would equate to a loss of 1,065 to 2,223 spots, mostly for three-year-olds.
Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction
- Delay the June 2013 apportionment until July 2013, saving $330 million. This is an accounting move but doesn’t change the total amount school districts receive. (Likely in supplemental request)
- Eliminate or reduce levy equalization funds, saving between $30 and $300 million, depending on what percentage is cut. These funds help property-poor districts that can’t raise as much money through tax levies as others. Gregoire is proposing cutting the payments by 50 percent, instead of entirely. (Likely in supplemental request)
- Eliminate school bus transportation funding, starting with the 2012-13 school year, saving $220 million. Most school districts already subsidize state transportation funding with local money due to costs being more than what the state provides.
- Increase class sizes by two students in grades 4-12, saving $137 million. This would increase the statewide class staffing ratios, resulting in fewer teachers. (Likely in supplemental request)
- Reduce the school year by a week, leaving 175 days in the calendar, saving $125 million. This equals a three percent reduction in the school year.
- Move bus depreciation payments from October to August, saving $49 million. This would be a 10 month delay for districts waiting for money to buy new buses. (Likely in supplemental request)
- Eliminate or reduce National Board Certification bonuses, saving between $8.4 to $40 million. Greogire prefers reducing the amount from $5,000 to $4,000. (Likely in supplemental request)
- Eliminate full-day kindergarten funding for high-poverty schools, saving $38 million.
- Change the school funding formula to base it on “average daily attendance,” which would save about $33 million. Gregoire prefers changing the attendance policy so that students who are absent for 20 days in a row are considered withdrawn from the district; this would save about $6.4 million (Likely in supplemental request)
- Eliminate or reduce small grants and projects, including PASS, Readiness to Learn, principal and superintendent internships, career and technical education start-up grants, Washington Reading Corps and more, saving about $9 million (Likely in supplemental request)
- Reduce staffing for high schools with less than 300 students from 9 full-time teachers to 8, saving about $5 million. (Likely in supplemental request)
- Reduce OSPI administration by 10 percent, saving $600,000. (Likely in supplemental request)
- Reduce K-12 salaries (and other state employee salaries) by an additional 1 percent for the 2012-13 school year (this is on top of the 1.6 to 3 percent reduction staff took this year). Saves about $37 million
- Reduce the amount the state kicks-in for health insurance by $23 per employee per month, saving about $20 million (Likely in supplemental request)
- Eliminate or reduce the amount of State Need Grant financial aid given to students. Elimination of the program, which helps 700,000 low-income students, would save about $303 million. Gregoire also proposes reducing the amount of the grant award to each student by about $2,700, excluding students who attend private colleges/universities, or reduce the eligibility of students by requiring students be at 55 percent of median family income. The alternative proposals would cut between $25.5 and $68.4 million.
- Reduce state support to all state public universities and colleges by 10 to 20 percent for the 2012-13 school year, saving between $111 and $222 million. Gregoire prefers reducing the funding by 15 percent, which equals about $166 million. (Likely in supplemental request) (Note: The state universities still have the ability to change their tuition, as granted by the Legislature last spring. That is how they handled many of the cuts for the current school year. Tuition is already set to increase for the 2012-13 school year.)
- Eliminate the State Work Study program, which helps 7,600 students, saving about $8 million. (Likely in supplemental request)
The proposal also calls for reducing state funding for the School for the Blind and the Center for Childhood Deafness and Hearing Loss by 5 to 10 percent, saving between $711,000 and $1.4 million. Gregoire supports cutting funding by 5 percent (Likely in supplemental request).
You can get an overview of all the proposed cuts, not just education, on the Politics Blog.
Below are some comments released by various education groups.
State Superintendent Randy Dorn released the following statement:
I understand why the Governor must propose cuts and that this is just the beginning of the conversation, but these cuts can’t happen. Levy equalization is used to fund basic education services for students, including required services in special education. And, what’s more basic than hiring teachers to keep class sizes down in grades 4-12? The state has a constitutional responsibility to fund basic education first. We are not meeting that obligation today. These cuts would just make the situation worse in our schools.
Washington Education Association President Mary Lindquist released the following statement:
“Washington’s educators stand firmly opposed to another all-cuts state budget. Millions more in budget cuts will force schools to lay off even more teachers and support staff, forcing students into severely overcrowded classrooms where they won’t get the help they need to succeed.
“Without a quality education, our state’s children can’t compete for good jobs and Washington’s economy will suffer. Further cuts to higher education will make college too expensive for most families.
“Enough is enough. We’ve already slashed more than $2 billion in funding from Washington’s public schools in the last few years. It’s clear we also need new revenue. Washington’s students need a quality education more than big businesses need tax breaks.”
Western Washington University President Bruce Shepard sent this note to campus:
The Governor’s preliminary proposal to cut at least 15% and up to 20% from the state’s higher education budget—that’s another $10.1 to $13.5M for Western on top of the $32.9M cut already taken for the 2011-13 biennium—is a disaster for the state of Washington. Coupled with a proposal to suspend the state work study program for students, the proposal is a disaster for Washington’s economy and a disaster for Washington’s families and children.
Cuts of this magnitude will cripple our ability to provide broad access to quality higher education for Washington’s citizens. We are deeply concerned about what these cuts could mean for Western and our ability to support brighter futures for our students, for our state.
Last year, we began the legislative session with a similarly disastrous budget proposed by the Governor, one that would have gutted our capacity to build stronger futures for Washington. While serious cuts were necessary, in the end, our elected leaders understood the need to protect access to the quality that defines Western’s special contributions to a stronger Washington.
Like last year, we must again stay together as a campus and aggressively rally our advocates across the state to ensure that current and future students can create brighter futures for themselves at a strong Western. And, like last year, if we stay together and stay effectively engaged, our commitments as a proudly publicly purposed university are much more likely to be heard and prevail. And, prevail they must.
This is the first step in a very long process. No decisions about programs or positions have been considered and, as always, we will move forward with an inclusive, deliberate budget process focused on preserving academic excellence and the outstanding faculty and staff who are Western.
Having witnessed your strength and perseverance over the last year, we know we can count on you to join in the collective efforts of the campus community and our various constituent groups to fight to keep Western strong.
The League of Education Voters sent out the following release about the proposed cuts:
Education cuts “wrong solution for ailing economy”
League of Education Voters cautions against cuts to education budget
Today Governor Gregoire released her “draft” supplemental budget and proposed that the state make major cuts to schools, colleges and universities for the fifth year in a row. The Governor proposes cutting $378 million in state support for schools and $174 million from colleges and universities.
“Cutting education jobs is the wrong solution for our ailing economy,” said Chris Korsmo, CEO of the League of Education Voters. “This will only make the problem worse.”
“Already, thousands of good jobs go unfilled because we aren’t educating enough skilled workers.
Larger class sizes, fewer courses, and ever-increasing tuition hikes will hurt our students’ chances to contribute to the economy for decades to come. “
The Governor’s draft budget proposes increasing class sizes by two students in grades 4-12, and eliminating programs that help struggling students and programs that prepare students for college.
“We as citizens must confront deep structural issues that are contributing to today’s economic problems and will slow Washington’s recovery. Our state relies too much on sales taxes. We voters pass conflicting ballot measures that require legislators to fund education, on the one hand, and then I-1053, which prevents lawmakers from fixing our broken tax code, on the other.
As major budget decisions loom, the League of Education Voters is sponsoring edCored, a month-long series on the impacts cuts have already made for our students and our future. The series explains the serious implications that cuts have from a range of perspectives. Lawmakers and homemakers alike have weighed in on how these education cuts have—and will continue to—hurt our state’s children, economy and future. The full series is available online at http://edCored.org.