(1) The superintendent of public instruction shall establish a primary grade reading grant program. The purpose of the grant program is to enhance teachers' skills in using teaching methods that have proven results gathered through quantitative research and to assist students in beginning reading.
(2) Schools and school districts may apply for primary grade reading grants. To qualify for a grant, the grant proposal shall provide that the grantee must:
(a) Document that the instructional model the grantee intends to implement, including teaching methods and instructional materials, is based on results validated by quantitative methods;
(b) Agree to work with the independent contractor identified under subsection (3) of this section to determine the effectiveness of the instructional model selected and the effectiveness of the staff development provided to implement the selected model; and
(c) Provide evidence of a significant number of students who are not achieving at grade level.
To the extent funds are appropriated, the superintendent of public instruction shall make initial grants available by September 1, 1997, for schools and school districts voluntarily participating in pilot projects under RCW 28A.300.320
. Subject to available funding, additional applications may be submitted to the superintendent of public instruction by September 1, 1998, and by September 1st in subsequent years. Grants will be awarded for two years.
(3) The superintendent of public instruction shall contract with an independent contractor who has experience in program evaluation and quantitative methods to evaluate the impact of the grant activities on students' reading skills and the effectiveness of the staff development provided to teachers to implement the instructional model selected by the grantee. Five percent of the funds awarded for grants shall be set aside for the purpose of the grant evaluation conducted by the independent contractor.
(4) The superintendent of public instruction shall submit biennially to the legislature and the governor a report on the primary grade reading grant program. The first report must be submitted not later than December 1, 1999, and each succeeding report must be submitted not later than December 1st of each odd-numbered year. Reports must include information on how the schools and school districts used the grant money, the instructional models used, how they were implemented, and the findings of the independent contractor.
(5) The superintendent of public instruction shall disseminate information to the school districts five years after the beginning of the grant program regarding the results of the effectiveness of the instructional models and implementation strategies.
(6) Funding under this section shall not become part of the state's basic program of education obligation as set forth under Article IX of the state Constitution.