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Frequently Asked Questions

SB 1133 addresses the following three K-12 goals:

  1. Improve the quality of academic instruction and pupil achievement in the schools in which pupils have high levels of poverty.
  2. Develop exemplary school districts and school practices that will attract and retain qualified teachers, administrators, and other staff.
  3. Focus school resources in a comprehensive manner on instructional improvement.

At a minimum the improved teaching and learning conditions must include:

1. Class size of 25 or 5 fewer per class for self- contained classrooms in grades 4-12. In departmentalized settings, class size reduction is in the four core academic areas only.
2. High School Counseling ratio of not more than 300 students per counselor;
3. Professional Development in subjects taught and in the needs of English learners for all teachers that includes time for teachers to meet together and have an authentic relationship to the subjects taught;
4. Schools that are clean, safe and conducive to learning;
5. Experienced teachers who annually participate in high- quality professional development opportunities
6. Experienced, stable, school administrative leadership;
7. Instructional materials for each student in each subject; and
8. A single integrated school plan developed collaboratively by the Site Council that includes all funds available to funded schools.

Frequently Asked Questions

What additional funds will be available to provide these improved conditions?
The bill provides $268 million in 2007-08 and $402 million for the subsequent 6 years to fund this program. (*Not covered in this document but in addition: Community Colleges will receive $32 million in 2007-08 and $48 million for the subsequent 6 years as part of the CTA settlement). Schools selected will receive $500 per K-3 student; $900 per 4-8 student and $1,000 per 9-12 student. (Funding for K-3 is lower because these grades are not required to reduce class size.) This funding will be provided annually for at least 7 years if the school meets the program requirements. This will be in addition to other funds in these schools such as Title I, High Priority Schools, Economic Impact Aid, and School Improvement.

Which schools are eligible and how will I know if my district has eligible schools?
Schools with a valid Academic Performance Index (API) for the 2005 school year and are ranked in Deciles 1 or 2 of the API. Schools without a valid API for the 2005year or which are not included in the deciles ranking system are not eligible.
Based on the resources provided, about 500 of the 1,455 eligible schools in these two deciles will be funded.
The Superintendent of Public Instruction will notify each school district of the schools in that district that are eligible to participate.

If 1,455 schools are eligible and only about 500 are to be funded, who makes the decision as to which schools are selected and by what criteria?
From among eligible schools that apply, the Superintendent of Public Instruction and the Secretary for Education will jointly recommend to the State Board of Education schools to be funded. The SPI and the Secretary may develop selection criteria and, if they do so, they will notify school districts of these criteria.

What Accountability Criteria will be used in these funded schools?
Funded schools must:

  • Lower class size to not more than 25, or five fewer students per class for grades 4-12 than the 2005-06 year, whichever is lower;
  • Provide professional development in subject areas taught to not less than 1/3 of its teachers and instructional paraprofessionals annually;
  • Have a teacher experience average in the school equal to not lower than the average experience of teachers in the school district;
  • Meet the criteria of the Williams lawsuit settlement (e.g. must have instructional materials for each student in each core subject for which there is a state framework, must have clean, safe and functional schools and a parent notification and complaint system in place.);
  • Must meet their Academic Performance Index (API) growth requirements averaged for the first four years and then annually thereafter exceed their API growth requirements;
  • Schools will have a phase-in period of four years to meet the accountability requirements of the bill. For example, at the end of the second year they must be one- third of the way to compliance. At the end of the third year they must be an additional one-third of the way and fully meet these criteria at the end of the fourth year and each year thereafter; and
  • If districts do not meet the interim and final goals, their funding will be terminated. The SPI is directed to phase out the funding in a manner consistent with the districts’ ability to reduce costs. Districts may appeal termination and if they can demonstrate that errors were made the State Board of Education could reinstate funding.

How will districts calculate “teacher experience” in the school and in the district?
The SPI is required to develop this index after broad consultation with the education community. The statute provides that for purposes of calculating the teacher indexes, teachers who have 10 years or more of experience shall be counted as having 10 years experience. This will ensure that districts do not staff funded schools with a few teachers with 30 years of experience and the remaining teachers with one or two years of experience. Moreover, research suggests that teacher experience beyond ten years does not correlate directly to increased instructional quality.

How many new teachers will it take to cover the class size reduction called for in the legislation and how will districts fund new classrooms needed for these new teachers?
Based on estimates of the number of participating schools, fewer than 3,000 additional teachers will be needed to fulfill the class size reduction requirements of the legislation. Because districts and schools will have a four- year phase-in period to meet the class size reduction requirements, this equates to an additional 750 teachers per year.

For schools that need additional classrooms, the legislation allows districts to use essentially all of the first year funds they receive to provide for facilities made necessary by the bill. In addition, because schools are not required to fully meet the class size targets until the fourth year, districts will have additional resources for facilities in the second and third year of funding as well. Total funds for new classrooms will exceed $500 million.

What if my school wants to reform our eligible schools in a totally different way than called for in this legislation?
The legislation contemplates that some schools and districts may wish to try other instructional improvement models. It allows up to 15% of students funded to be in schools using alternative approaches. Such schools and districts will have the burden of demonstrating to the SPI and the Secretary that their approach will be able to meet the overall achievement goals of the basic program required by the bill.

Who will review funded schools to ensure that they are meeting the annual program requirements?
Each County Superintendent is to review funded schools in their County. They will do this in a manner similar to how they review schools under the Williams Settlement. If schools do not meet the requirements, the County Superintendent is to notify the SPI and the SPI is to terminate funding. Counties will receive more than $2 million annually to carry out this evaluative role.

Will there be any assistance to schools to help them undertake the required changes proposed by this legislation?
Yes. The legislation provides $5 million to create two regional technical assistance programs operated by County Superintendents. The bill contemplates that this funding will be matched by foundations and other sources to increase assistance where it is required.

What happens at the conclusion of this seven- year funding period?
The presumption is that if these investments prove successful, the Legislature will continue, and hopefully, expand the program. For purposes of perspective, in seven years $450 million will be less than one half of one percent of the annual Proposition 98 guarantee.

What happens to the Community Colleges portion of the settlement?
For 2007-08, the community colleges will receive $32 million for improving and expanding career technical education in public secondary and in lower division higher education. For the years 2008-09 to 2013-14, the community colleges will receive $38 million per year for the same purpose. In addition, the community colleges will receive a block grant of $10 million per year. Block grant funds may be spent on items such as, but not limited to, instructional equipment and materials with emphasis on nursing programs; physical plant improvements; ADA compliance; library and technology infrastructure; hazardous materials abatement. Community college funding totals 10.7% of the overall available settlement funding.

Every child deserves a chance to learn and no child succeeds alone.

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