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Public meetings to address education

Two public meetings – one tonight in Spokane Valley and another Tuesday in Spokane – will address state education issues.

Paying for schools

One of 14 members of a task force assigned by the Legislature to study school funding will answer questions about the group’s work tonight in the Valley.

Formed because school districts say the state is failing to meet its constitutional obligation to fund basic education, the group must present recommendations in December. It will draw from five proposals put together by members and outside groups.

Rep. Ross Hunter, D-Bellevue, will talk about proposals from a bipartisan group of six legislators.

Like other proposals, Hunter’s own plan would increase state funding to districts, anticipating that primary and secondary education eventually would require half of the state’s general fund, up from 40 percent. And like most of the others, it proposes a new pay structure for teachers, based partly on performance – a step that would require labor negotiations.

The other proposals came from the Full-Funding Coalition, which comprises groups representing teachers, administrators and other school employees; Superintendent of Public Instruction Terry Bergeson, who lost in the November election; the League of Education Voters; and task force Chairman Dan Grimm.

The meeting starts at 7 p.m. at South Pines Elementary School, 12421 E. 24th Ave.

Addressing the gap

Another task force created by the Legislature is looking for ways to narrow the “achievement gap” between black students and most other racial groups. It, too, is required to present education-improvement recommendations to the Legislature in December.

That 15-member task force is hosting a town-hall meeting from 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday at Bethel AME Church, 645 S. Richard Allen Court in Spokane.

Black students in Washington consistently do worse on the WASL than students from most other racial groups.

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