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Hyde named to State Task Force on Education Finance

Call it another honor for the Bremerton School District. Superintendent Bette Hyde was named to the Task Force on Basic Education Finance, announced last week by Gov. Chris Gregoire. The task force was created earlier this year by the governor and the state legislature, to look into the question of whether current funding is insufficient and unreliable.

Hyde is one of three at-large selections made by the governor to join elected and appointed state officials on the 14-member group. Hyde represents the state's medium-sized school districts.

"Bette has served on the K-12 advisory board of the Washington Learns Committee," said the governor's executive policy advisor for education, Judy Hartmann, "so she's been part of the genesis of this work. She's a respected educator in the state, and she's a collaborator in the community. Her focus is on the kids, and that's what it's all about."

School funding is re-worked during every state budget, but the basic plan is now 30 years old.

The state is the main source of funding for the Bremerton School District, contributing approximately 69-percent of the $8,386 alloted for each student. Seventeen percent of the cost is funded by local levy accounts, and the rest comes from federal grants. A study in 2005 showed Washington ranks 42nd in per-pupil funding in the United States.

The task force will begin work this fall, and a final report is due in 2009.

The Washington Learns Committee began in 2005, and made recommendations on how to boost math and science learning and offer more college scholarships.

Since Hyde joined the district in 2001, test scores have increased steadily in virtually every area, but math and science scores are still lagging below the 50-percent mastery level at the high school.

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