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OSPI Releases Report on Funding Recommendations for Institutional Education
Two-year plan would provide adequate services for the state’s most vulnerable students

OLYMPIA — DECEMBER 1, 2016 — Students are placed in institutions because of different circumstances. Some are truant or have committed minor offenses. Others have physical or behavioral disorders. A few, still children, will soon be tried as adults.

In 2014-15, nearly 11,000 students in Washington state received educational services in an institution, such as a county detention center, a jail or a residential habilitation center. But the funding formula used to educate the students hasn’t changed enough to reflect the needs of the students.

A report written by the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, released today, makes recommendations that would update the formula.

“Institutional education is a part of basic education,” said Randy Dorn, superintendent of public instruction. “These students are some of the most vulnerable in our state. They can be many grade levels behind their peers, and often they’ve been in and out of school because of suspensions or expulsions.”

Dorn noted that students often thrive in institutional programs because they are no longer on drugs, don’t have to take care of siblings or parents and don’t have to worry about gangs.

“They need our help,” he said. “Most of them will be getting out of the institutions at some point. And it’s our duty as a society to make sure they are educated.”

Juvenile justice laws have changed over the years, resulting in fewer students being served. In 2011-12, a total of 12,811 students received education services in an institution; in 2014-15, the number decreased to 10,856 – a decrease of 15.3 percent.

But the students that remain are more likely to be serious or repeat offenders than they were in the past. They face many barriers to achieving academic success and often require a great deal of one-on-one academic and emotional support.

The formulas used to provide funding for the programs were established in the mid-1990s but haven’t been updated since then.

In the fall of 2015, OSPI convened a workgroup to study the problem. In summary, the workgroup recommends a two-year transition: for 2017-18, an increase in institutional education funding of $12.9 million; for 2018-19, the implementation of a funding model that mirrors general education programs.

In his biennial budget request, Dorn has proposed the increases recommended by the workgroup.

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About OSPI
The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) is the primary agency charged with overseeing K–12 education in Washington state. Led by State School Superintendent Randy Dorn, OSPI works with the state’s 295 school districts and nine educational service districts to administer basic education programs and implement education reform on behalf of more than one million public school students.

OSPI provides equal access to all programs and services without discrimination based on sex, race, creed, religion, color, national origin, age, honorably discharged veteran or military status, sexual orientation, gender expression or identity, the presence of any sensory, mental, or physical disability, or the use of a trained dog guide or service animal by a person with a disability. Questions and complaints of alleged discrimination should be directed to the Equity and Civil Rights Director at (360) 725-6162 or P.O. Box 47200, Olympia, WA 98504-7200.

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Nathan Olson
Communications Manager
(360) 725-6015 |

The OSPI Communications Office serves as the central point of contact for local, regional and national media covering K-12 education issues.

Communications Manager
Nathan Olson
(360) 725-6015


   Updated 12/1/2016

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