For two years the Washington Business Alliance has been advocating for and celebrating the importance of hands-on, applied training that Career and Technical Education (CTE) delivers to high school students. CTE, also known as vocational training, actively engages and prepares students for the real world upon graduation.

The Business Alliance brought 34 nonprofits together including ethnic groups, unions, trade associations, business associations and education NGOs to collaborate and agree on policy positions. This group was led by Jene Jones, of Legislative Solutions, who serves as our Education Policy Advisor.  Collectively this powerful group advocated for CTE improvements and funding and became a very strong and effective voice.

After a week of wrapping up final negotiations about 2017-19 state budget decisions, accompanied by anxiety over the delayed announcement, we are pleased to announce the following results for CTE, which stemmed largely from our agenda and the legislators who fought to support it.

There will be a $200 million investment in the next four years to reduce CTE class sizes to a maximum of 23 students per class in schools and 20 students per class in skills centers. As for allocation of funds, CTE is moved to a Categorical Fund which requires districts to spend CTE money CTE rather than allowing it to be swept for other purposes. There is also an Allowable Expenditures List is in place for all Materials, Supplies and Operating Costs (MSOC) and Class Size monies. Indirect charges are set at a 5% maximum, down from 15% previously.

The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) is offering additional equipment grants and will continue developing course equivalencies for programs. Core+, First Robotics, Jobs for America’s Graduates, and other CTE programs are funded, too.

There are also great strides made for our educators, including an increased state salary allocation by $5.3B in the next four years in order to fully pay all teachers including ongoing cost of living adjustments and three Professional Development days a year. Districts may also pay up to 10% additional salary for those teachers teaching in the subjects of science, technology, engineering, and math.

Today is a great time for Career Tech Education and we would like to send a big thank you to Jene Jones who led our efforts along with Tim Knue of Wa-ACTE, the Governor, and CTE leaders in the four caucuses who worked tirelessly to make this happen Sen Braun (R), Sen Rolfes (D), Rep Harris (R), and Rep Tarleton (D). We plan to go to these legislators communities to award them for a job well done is serving the kids of our state.