• Office of the Superintendent

    Myths Regarding HB 2242 - REGIONALIZATION FACTOR

    The State of Washington should NOT be supporting a salary allocation system whose effect is to pay teachers of rich kids more money than teachers of poor kids.

    By Dr. Jack Irion, Superintendent of Yakima Public Schools

    It appears there is growing consensus that it is more difficult to hire and retain teachers in some school districts than in others.  However, there are at least two trains of thought.  One thought is that because the cost of housing in the Puget Sound region is greater than in other parts of the state, it is more difficult to fill those teaching positions.  The other train of thought is that for school districts in which there is much poverty, it is more difficult to fill those teaching positions. 

    So, the first question to be answered is whether or not school districts are able to fill all their teaching positions with those certified to teach in the particular position.  One gauge of that could simply be to ‘visit’ the website of every school district in the state at a given time during the school year to see how many teaching positions they have posted as currently open/unfilled.  For each school district, that number would then be expressed as a percentage of the total number of teaching positions in the particular school district.  Then, everyone would truly know, for at least that particular school year, at that particular time, which districts had the most difficulty filling their teaching positions, based on the percentage of unfilled positions.

     

    MYTH #1

    The REGIONALIZATION FACTOR is based on the “differences in the cost of hiring staff.” 

     

    Citation

    “Beginning with the 2018-19 school year, state allocations for salaries for certificated instructional staff, certificated administrative staff, and classified staff must be adjusted for regional differences in the cost of hiring staff.”  [emphasis added]

                                        Part I SALARY ALLOCATIONS, Sec. 101, (9), Lines 14-17, page 4

     Response

    1. When hiring staff, school districts do incur some costs. Traditional costs associated with hiring staff include, but are not limited to, travel costs associated with attending a job fair, printing costs associated with the creation of promotional materials, signing bonuses, moving expenses, …
    2. Non-traditional costs associated with hiring include the cost of providing homestays for student teachers and paying the same amount of money to staff who do not have the opportunity to earn NBCT status, but who have earned national certification from their respective organizations, e.g., school psychologists.
    3. These existing costs are found within each school district’s expenditures.
    4. There has not been a study of the actual hiring costs incurred by school districts.
    5. The cost of housing for new employees is not a part of the cost of hiring.
    6. The cost of a homestay for student teachers is a part of the cost of hiring since it is designed to increase the size of the talent pool from which to hire.

    Action:  If the Regionalization Factor is to be based on the cost of hiring staff, then:

    1. Traditional and Non-Traditional costs associated with the “hiring” of staff must be identified. For example, the cost of a home has nothing to do with the cost of “hiring.”  However, the cost of providing a homestay for student teachers is a cost of hiring because it is intended to increase the size of the talent pool of candidates.
    2. A study of the actual hiring costs incurred by school districts must be conducted.
    3. These actual costs must then be presented as a percentage of each school district’s budget. I think it is safe to assume that the Seattle School District spends more money on the hiring of staff than does the Goldendale School District.  However, as a percentage of each school district’s budget, who has the higher cost?

     

    MYTH #2

    The “differences in the cost of hiring staff” are reflected in the differences among school districts of “the median single-family residential value.” 

     

    Citation

    “The school district regionalization factors are based on the median single-family residential value of each school district and proximate school district median single-family residential value as described in section 104 of this act.” 

    Part I SALARY ALLOCATIONS, Sec. 101, (9), Lines 21-24, page 4

     

    Response:

    1. With no study having been conducted regarding the actual costs of hiring staff, it is not accurate to assume that the median home value will reflect the actual differences of hiring costs between school districts. Just because it costs more to live in a particular school district, we can not assume that the costs of hiring are greater in the ‘rich’ district, especially when viewed as a percentage of the budget.

     

    Action:  If the Regionalization Factor is to be based on the cost of hiring staff, then:

    1. See ‘Action’ under Myth #1.

     

     

    MYTH #3

    Using the 15-mile radius limitation, the salary allocation for each school district reflects that limitation.

     

     

    Citation:  

    “(5) The definitions in this subsection apply throughout this section unless the context clearly requires otherwise. 

    (a) "Median residential value of each school district" means the median value of all single-family residential parcels included within a school district and any other school district that is proximate to the school district.

    (b) "Proximate to the school district" means within fifteen miles of the boundary of the school district for which the median residential value is being calculated.”

    Part 1 SALARY ALLOCATIONS, Sec. 104, (5), Lines 32-40, page 9

     

    Response:

    1. There are three (3) schools districts (Easton SD, Cle Elum-Roslyn SD, Thorp SD) who had their enhanced allocation reduced from 6% to 0%. They are the victims of “reduced factor points.”  Their allocation is not based on this process.
    2. Twenty-six (26) school districts receive a greater enhanced allocation than what the 15-mile allocation earned them. Their allocation is not based on this process.  They are the benefactors of “added factor points.”

    Increasing from 0% to 6%: Mead SD, N. Thurston SD, Odessa SD, Port Angeles SD,

    Richland SD, Spokane SD, Stehekin SD, Steilacoom SD, Wenatchee SD, West Valley SD (Yakima)

    Increasing from 6% to 12%:  Bellingham SD, Camas SD, Conway SD, Ferndale SD

    Increasing from 12% to 18%: Arlington SD, Auburn SD, Burlington-Edison SD, Lakewood SD, Marysville SD, Stanwood-Camano Island SD

    Increasing from 18% to 24%: Everett SD, Lake Stevens SD, Mukilteo SD, Shoreline SD,

    Snohomish SD, South Whidbey SD

    1. For the twenty-nine (29) school districts above, the 15-mile rule was not the determining factor in regards to the salary allocation for that specific school district.

    Action:

    1. There should be no “Added Factor Points” or “Reduced Factor Points.” The criteria used to determine this salary allocation should be built into the allocation model.

     

    MYTH #4

    The “statewide salary allocation enables school districts to hire and retain qualified staff for the state's statutory program of basic education.”

     

    Citation:

    “FUNDING ELEMENTS OF THE BASIC EDUCATION PROGRAM.

    Basic education by necessity is an evolving program of instruction intended to reflect the changing educational opportunities that are needed to equip students for their role as productive citizens and includes the following:

     (e) Statewide salary allocations necessary to hire and retain qualified staff for the state's statutory program of basic education.”

                Part IV, PROGRAM OF BASIC EDUCATION, Sec. 401, (2), Lines 32-33, page 43

      

    Response:

    1. Teachers in the Yakima School District are currently the highest paid teachers in central Washington.
    2. HB 2242 changes that by allocating 6% more to the West Valley School District.
    3. This additional allocation is accomplished by awarding the WVSD “added factor points.” It is not a result of the 15-mile rule in determining the median home value.
    4. The effect of HB 2242 is that it will make it easier to hire and retain qualified staff of rich kids and make it more difficult to hire and retain qualified staff of poor kids.

     

    Action:

    1. The State of Washington needs to conduct its own research to determine where the actual teaching vacancies are in our state.
    2. The State of Washington needs to conduct its own research to determine where we have teachers teaching outside of their endorsed areas.
    3. The State of Washington needs to identify the costs of recruiting and hiring that are not common to all school districts, e.g., signing bonuses, moving costs, homestays for student teachers, …
    4. Based on the results of #1 - #3 above, an allocation model must be created.

     

     

    FACT #1:

    The regionalization factor is designed to “reflect actual economic differences between school districts.”

     

    Citation:

    “PROCESS FOR REVIEWING AND REBASING SALARY ALLOCATIONS. (1) Beginning with the 2023 regular legislative session, and every six years thereafter, the legislature shall review and rebase state basic education compensation allocations compared to school district compensation data, regionalization factors, and other economic information. The legislature shall revise the minimum allocations and regionalization factors if necessary to ensure that state basic education allocations continue to provide market-rate salaries and that regionalization adjustments reflect actual economic differences between school districts.” 

    Part I, SALARY ALLOCATION, Sec. 104, (1), Lines 28-39, page 8

     

    Response:

    1. This language clearly states that teachers of rich kids will be paid more than teachers of poor kids. This is not about where the teacher lives, it is about who the teacher teaches.
    2. Research tells us that this system, by design, will result in the poorer school districts finding it more difficult to fill their teaching positions than do the rich school districts.

     

    Action:

    1. The purpose of any salary allocation program should be to provide a qualified teacher for every student in Washington State.
    2. Teachers in remote and/or poor school districts should be paid more than those who teach in other school districts.

     

    EXAMPLES

     

    Teacher A and Teacher B both teach middle school science.  They live side-by-side in a duplex in Monroe.  Teacher A teaches in the Lake Stevens SD and Teacher B teaches in the Monroe SD.  Teacher A will be paid 24% above the standard allocation, while Teacher B will be paid 18% more.  Two teachers---teaching the same thing---having home values that are identical---are paid differently, not because of where they live, but because of who they teach. 

     

    Teacher C and Teacher D both teach at the 3rd grade.  Teacher C lives in the Yakima School District and has a home valued at $150,000.  Teacher D lives in the West Valley School District and has a home valued at $150,000.  Teacher C works in the West Valley SD and Teacher D works in the Yakima SD.  Teacher C will be paid 6% more than Teacher D.  Yet, Teacher D lives in the school district with a slightly higher average median home value.  Again, this additional pay (Regionalization Factor) is based on who you teach, NOT on where you live.

     

    A husband and wife both teach high school English.  They live together in Oak Harbor.  The wife teaches at Oak Harbor HS and the husband teaches at South Whidbey HS.  The husband will be paid 24% more than the state allocation and his wife will be paid 12% more than the state allocation.  Two teachers---teaching the same content---having the same home value---are paid different amounts of money because of who they teach.  The teacher of the richer students is paid 24% more than the basic state allocation and the teacher of the (relatively) poorer students is only paid 12% more than the basic state allocation.

     

    CONCLUSION

    The State of Washington should NOT be supporting a salary allocation system whose effect is to pay teachers of rich kids more money than teachers of poor kids.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

Staff