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Washington school districts
|K-12 Education in Washington|
|State Superintendent: Randy Dorn|
|Number of students: 1,045,453|
|Number of teachers: 53,119|
|Teacher/pupil ratio: 1:19.7|
|Number of school districts: 316|
|Number of schools: 2,365|
|Graduation rate: 77%|
|Per-pupil spending: $9,483|
|Washington Department of Education • List of school districts in Washington • Washington • School boards portal|
|Education policy project|
|Public education in the United States |
Public education in Washington
Glossary of education terms
- 1 Quick facts
- 2 In the news
- 3 State law
- 4 School board elections
- 5 See also
- 6 External links
- 7 References
Washington is home to 316 school districts, 2,365 schools and 1,045,453 K-12 students.
State school administrators
- State Board of Education
- Dr. Kristina Mayer, Chair, Position 6
- Dr. Deborah J. Wilds, Vice-Chair, Position 1
- Tre' Maxie, Position 2
- Connie Fletcher, Position 3
- Holly Koon, Position 4
- Isabel Munoz-Colon, Position 5
- Jeff Estes, Position 7
- Cynthia McMullen, Region 1
- Dan Plung, Region 2
- Kevin Laverty, Region 3
- Bob Hughes, Region 4
- Peter Maier, Region 5
- Judy Jennings, Private Schools Representative
- Randy Dorn, State Superintendent
|Enrollment, 2011-2012||Graduation rates, 2012-2013|
|1.) Seattle Public Schools||1.) Bickleton School District|
|2.) Spokane Public Schools||2.) Colton School District|
|3.) Tacoma Public Schools||3.) Coulee-Hartline School District|
|4.) Kent School District||4.) Creston School District|
|5.) Evergreen School District||5.) Harrington School District|
|6.) Lake Washington School District||6.) Kahlotus School District|
|7.) Vancouver School District||7.) Mary M. Knight School District|
|8.) Federal Way School District||8.) Naselle-Grays River Valley School District|
|9.) Puyallup School District||9.) Selkirk School District|
|10.) Edmonds School District||10.) Skykomish School District|
The following table displays the ethnic distribution of students in Washington as reported in the National Center for Education Statistics Common Core of Data for 2011-2012.
|Demographic Information for Washington's K-12 Public School System|
|Ethnicity||Students||State Percentage||United States Percentage**|
|Hawaiian Nat./Pacific Isl. Students||9,308||0.89%||0.42%|
|Two or More||63,077||6.03%||2.54%|
|**Note: This is the percentage of all students in the United States that are reported to be of this ethnicity.|
In the news
McCleary v. Washington
The case of McCleary v. Washington decided by the Washington State Supreme Court in January 2012 challenged the state's funding to public schools. Matthew and Stephanie McCleary along with the Network for Excellence in Washington Schools challenged the state under Article IX, Section I of the Washington State Constitution, which states, "It is the paramount duty of the state to make ample provision for the education of all children residing within its borders, without distinction or preference on account of race, color, caste, or sex." A unanimous order by the court determined that the state violated this constitutional provision and that a report would be required in September 2012 to show progress toward adequate funding by 2018. A legislative committee issued a report in September 2012 as required by court order. The report concluded that legislative actions to avoid further cuts and slowly progress toward education budget reforms complied with the court's judgement.
A related case in 2013 involved the constitutionality of Initiative 1185, an initiative passed in 2012 that would require a two-thirds majority vote in the Washington State Legislature to raise taxes. The League of Education Voters pursued a lawsuit against the state to overturn the initiative as unconstitutional and detrimental to the mandate in the McCleary case. The Court struck down Initiative 1185 on February 28, 2013 with a 6-3 vote. The majority opinion concluded that the initiative broke with Article II, Section 22 of the Washington State Constitution, which states that a majority of votes were required for a bill's passage. The three dissenting judges in League of Education of Voters v. Washington argued that the majority was exceeding its authority by wading into political issues.
Common Core, or the Common Core State Standards Initiative, is an American education initiative that outlines quantifiable benchmarks in English and mathematics at each grade level from kindergarten through high school. Washington Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn adopted these standards on July 20, 2011. Washington started a four-phase implementation strategy to incorporate the Common Core State Standards during the 2011-2012 school year. The standards will be fully implemented during the 2014-2015 school year.
School board composition
Washington school board members are generally elected by residents of the school district, although some school board members are appointed to fill vacancies until the next election for the seat is held. Washington school board elections typically follow one of these two methods:
- At-large: All voters residing in the school district may vote for any candidates running, regardless of geographic location.
- Director area at-large: All voters residing in the school district may vote for any candidates running, but candidates must reside in specific geographic areas within the school district.
School boards consist of five members except Seattle Public Schools, which has a seven-member board. Board members serve four-year terms on a staggered basis, with an election held every two years.
School districts in Washington typically serve students in a single city or set of neighboring cities. Rural school districts are typically single-building districts serving communities with less than 1,000 residents.
Washington does not impose statewide term limits on school board members. However, terms limits on school board members can still be imposed on the local level.
School board elections
- See also: Washington school board elections, 2015
A total of 35 Washington school districts among America's largest school districts by enrollment will hold elections for 101 seats on November 3, 2015.
Here are several quick facts about Washington's school board elections in 2015:
- The largest school district by enrollment with an election in 2015 is Seattle Public Schools with 49,269 K-12 students.
- The smallest school district by enrollment with an election in 2015 is Peninsula School District with 9,187 K-12 students.
- Five districts are tied for the most seats on the ballot in 2015 with four seats up for election each.
- Nine districts are tied for the fewest seats on the ballot in 2015 with two seats up for election each.
The districts listed below served 619,813 K-12 students during the 2010-2011 school year, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. Click on the district names for more information on the district and its school board elections.
|2015 Washington School Board Elections|
|District||Date||Seats up for election||Total board seats||Student enrollment|
|Auburn School District||11/3/2015||4||5||14,508|
|Battle Ground School District||11/3/2015||2||5||12,921|
|Bellevue School District||11/3/2015||3||5||18,475|
|Bellingham School District||11/3/2015||4||5||10,996|
|Bethel School District||11/3/2015||2||5||17,962|
|Central Kitsap School District||11/3/2015||3||5||11,584|
|Central Valley School District||11/3/2015||3||5||12,639|
|Clover Park School District||11/3/2015||3||5||12,358|
|Edmonds School District||11/3/2015||4||5||20,587|
|Everett Public Schools||11/3/2015||2||5||18,776|
|Evergreen Public Schools (Clark)||11/3/2015||3||5||26,333|
|Federal Way Public Schools||11/3/2015||3||5||22,279|
|Highline Public Schools||11/3/2015||3||5||18,152|
|Issaquah School District||11/3/2015||3||5||17,825|
|Kennewick School District||11/3/2015||3||5||16,599|
|Kent School District||11/3/2015||3||5||27,160|
|Lake Washington School District||11/3/2015||3||5||24,924|
|Marysville School District||11/3/2015||3||5||11,666|
|Mead School District||11/3/2015||4||5||9,419|
|Mukilteo School District||11/3/2015||3||5||14,881|
|North Thurston Public Schools||11/3/2015||3||5||13,988|
|Northshore School District||11/3/2015||2||5||19,811|
|Olympia School District||11/3/2015||3||5||9,332|
|Pasco School District||11/3/2015||2||5||15,708|
|Peninsula School District||11/3/2015||3||5||9,187|
|Puyallup School District||11/3/2015||3||5||20,810|
|Renton School District||11/3/2015||3||5||14,769|
|Richland School District||11/3/2015||3||5||11,646|
|Seattle Public Schools||11/3/2015||4||7||49,269|
|Snohomish School District||11/3/2015||2||5||10,025|
|South Kitsap School District||11/3/2015||3||5||9,813|
|Spokane Public Schools||11/3/2015||2||5||29,038|
|Tacoma Public Schools||11/3/2015||2||5||28,540|
|Vancouver School District||11/3/2015||3||5||22,713|
|Yakima School District||11/3/2015||2||5||15,120|
Path to the ballot
To qualify for the ballot as a school board candidate in Washington, a person must be:
- 18 years of age or older
- A registered voter in the school district
- A resident and registered voter in the desired board district if board seats are not elected at-large
- A citizen of the United States
- A resident of Washington
State law also prohibits school board members from having direct or indirect financial interests in contracts held by the district exceeding $1,500 per month.
A Declaration of Candidacy is filed with the county auditor during the first week of June in an odd-numbered year.
School board candidates and board members are required to file financial disclosure reports with the Washington State Public Disclosure Commission. The reporting process begins with pre-election reports and continues as long as a board member remains in office.
- School board elections portal
- United States school districts
- List of school districts in Washington
- Washington Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction
- Public education in Washington
- Washington Secretary of State
- Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction
- Washington State Board of Education
- Washington State School Directors' Association
- Washington Education Association
- American Federation of Teachers - Washington
- National Center for Education Statistics school district search tool
- National Center for Education Statistics, "Table 2. Number of operating public schools and districts, state enrollment, teacher and pupil/teacher ratio by state: School year 2011–12," accessed March 18, 2014
- ED Data Express, "State Tables Report," accessed March 17, 2014 The site includes this disclaimer: "States converted to an adjusted cohort graduation rate [starting in the 2010-2011 school year], which may or may not be the same as the calculation they used in prior years. Due to the potential differences, caution should be used when comparing graduation rates across states."
- United States Census Bureau, "Public Education Finances: 2011," accessed March 18, 2014
- United States Department of Education, "2012 EDFacts State Profile," accessed August 8, 2013
- Washington State Board of Education, "Board Members," accessed June 13, 2014
- National Center for Education Statistics, "ELSI Table Generator," accessed July 11, 2014
- Washington Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, "Graduation and Dropout Statistics Annual Report 2012-2013," accessed July 11, 2014
- United States Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, "Common Core of Data (CCD), State Nonfiscal Public Elementary/Secondary Education Survey, 2011-2012," accessed May 7, 2014
- Washington State Legislature, "Washington State Constitution," accessed October 4, 2013
- Washington Courts, "McCleary Order," July 18, 2012
- The News Tribune, "State gets incomplete in first McCleary report," September 20, 2012
- New York Times, "Washington State’s Top Court Strikes Down Law on Taxes," February 28, 2013
- Common Core State Standards Initiative, "Core Standards in your State," accessed July 12, 2014
- State of Washington Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, "Transition to New Standards," accessed June 17, 2014
- Washington State School Directors' Association, "Running for school board," accessed July 9, 2014
- Washington Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, "School District Map," accessed July 10, 2014
State of Washington
|State executive officers||
Governor | Lieutenant Governor | Attorney General | Secretary of State | Treasurer | State Auditor | Superintendent of Public Instruction | Commissioner of Insurance | Director of Agriculture | Commissioner of Public Lands | Director of Labor and Industries | Chairman of Utilities and Transportation |
Washington Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction | Washington school districts |