Learning Assistance Program (LAP) FAQ's

What is LAP?
The Learning Assistance Program (LAP) is a state-funded program that offers supplemental services for K–12 students scoring below grade-level standard in English language arts (ELA) and mathematics. These services focus on accelerating student growth to make progress towards grade level. Funds may be used to support ELA, math or behavior supports that improve academic readiness.

How is student eligibility determined?
A student is eligible for LAP services if he/she scores below grade-level standard in ELA or mathematics. Districts must use multiple measures of performance in determining student eligibility. Districts have flexibility and local control in determining measures to establish student eligibility. (RCW 28A.165.015)  WEA encourages local associations to be involved in district decisions about how to measure student performance, including the potential use of assessments.

How does the state allocate LAP funds to districts and schools?

The state has two ways to allocate LAP funds:

1) The LAP Base Allocation: This is how OSPI has traditionally allocated LAP funds. Funds are generated by a formula and distributed to districts. It is then up to the District to determine how to allocate funds to individual schools.  Because of the state's "K-4 Focus First", these funds tend to be focused on elementary K-4 literacy.

2) NEW for 2017-18: LAP High Poverty School Allocation -- Funds are generated by a formula and distributed to eligible school buildings. A school is eligible if it has at least 50 percent of its students qualify for Free and Reduced Price Lunch (FRPL), based on the previous year's data. Schools right above or below the 50% FRPL mark may have their eligibility shift year to year.  The funds may only be used by the eligible school -- they cannot be transferred for use in another building. (EHB 2242 2017)

How may LAP funds be used?

  • Academic interventions in ELA and math. OSPI requires schools and districts to utilize interventions consistent with the Menus of Best Practice for ELA and Math
  • Behavior Interventions that may benefit a student's academic performance. OSPI requires schools and districts to utilize interventions consistent with the Menus of Best Practice for Behavior
  • Transition services for students moving into kindergarten, high school or graduation assistance
  • Professional learning for educators working with LAP students (must be explicitly tied to LAP services)
  • Technology including hardware, software, or licensing agreements if it is to provide support to LAP students
  • Consultant teachers or coaches
  • Mentoring, community partnerships or family engagement
  • Local districts may choose to utilize up to 5% of their LAP Base Allocation for to improve school climate, implement universal intervention systems or improve practices associated with social-emotional learning. These funds are not limited to LAP-eligible students and may be used to support building wide programs.
  • Local districts may choose to utilize up to 5% of their LAP Base Allocation for Readiness to Learn (RTL), a program to develop partnerships with community based organizations, educational service districts or other local agencies to deliver academic and non-academic supports for participating students.

LAP funds are often combined with Title I, Part A funds to support schoolwide and targeted support programs.

A district may retain up to 10% of LAP funds in carryover for both the LAP Base Allocation and the LAP High Poverty School Allocation. Funds in excess of the 10% will be returned to the state general fund.

Can LAP funds be used to hire additional staff?
Additional staffing may be hired if they are used to identify and support students needing LAP services. LAP law does not designate who may provide LAP services, both certificated and non-certificated staff are appropriate, but local associations should ensure staffing decisions align with appropriate job duties and bargaining unit definitions.  

Who decides how LAP funds get spent?
As long as LAP funds are aligned with LAP law (RCW 28A.165 & WAC 392-162) and the Menus of Best Practice for ELA, Math and Behavior, decisions on how LAP funds are used can be determined locally by district policies and procedures. WEA encourages local associations to be a part of these decisions at both the district and building levels.

Additional resources:

OSPI LAP Guidance.

Funding by District/Building: LAP Calculator for 2017-18 School Year.

If you have further questions about the LAP program and how it impacts WEA members, please contact Sally McNair.  
Questions about funding should we directed to Marie Canas or Andrea Hardy.