We Did It!

After 17 months of work, the Joint Task Force on Basic Education Finance has submitted its final report. The newly-elected State
Superintendent Randy Dorn has made passage of this bi-partisan committee's recommendations his #1 priority.

1,000's of emails, letters and phone calls on the part of library advocates from around the state to the JTF contributed to the following recommendations becoming a reality.  Over 10,000 petition signatures were delivered to the Task Force.

Special recognition for the committee members' personal insights and valuation of school library programs is warranted. Without their own convictions and their gracious and sincere reception of citizen input, the following progressive and sweeping recommendations would not have been possible.

What did the JTF recommend?

  • That Teacher-Librarians be classified as 'Core Teachers', and a part of the 'Core Instructional Program'. (p. 10)
  • That a line-item of $155 per student for 'Textbook, Library Books, and Other Materials' be allocated. (p. 10)
  • That a line-item of $200 per student for student technology be allocated. (p. 10)
  • That the teacher-librarian's function is re-defined as follows and declares that a full-time teacher-librarian is necessary in each 'hypothetical' schoolhouse.
  • "Teacherā€librarians, a function that includes information literacy, technology, and media to support school library media programs: 1 Full Time Equivalent per hypothetical school." (p. 11) Note: The allocation formula is based on the number of students to be served. Please see page 9 for staffing ratios.

A link to the full report: http://www.leg.wa.gov/documents/joint/bef/FinalReport.pdf

$4 Million Dollars

Members of both the House and Senate worked incredibly hard to fight for a line-item for school libraries to make it into the 2008 supplemental budget; it is the first time a line-item for school libraries has ever appeared in a Washington budget. The compromise budget, passed on March 13th, included $4MM for school libraries. The good news is that the monies will reach schoolhouse doors in September, the bad news is that this line-item lasts only one year. Thanks to every citizen that worked so hard to advocate for school libraries.

Here are the details on the allocation:

The budget language: "Funding is provided for an allocation of approximately four dollars per student to maintain and improve library materials, collections, and services. It is intended that this funding will be used to augment current funding for library programs."

The bottom line: Here is how the line-item affects each school district in the state of WA: pdf

How did this happen?: Watch the Senate floor speeches which led to a 49-0 vote in favor of school library funding. FAST FORWARD TO 1:02:20

What needs to be done now: Take Action

Funding & Joint Task Force

We can all be proud of this accomplishment, it is a great first step in making sure our school libraries do not wither away. It is the first time a line-item has appeared in a budget for money to spent on school libraries. CONGRATULATIONS TO EVERYONE WHO WORKED SO HARD. . . you were described by one legislative aide as a 'citizen's army'!

Funds district by district

Read this doc on Scribd: Conference 2008 By District

Thank you for all that have done and all that you may do to make change a reality.

Lisa, Susan and Denette