OLYMPIA — Democrats are leading the K-12 education funding discussion with two bills now before the budget-writing Senate Ways & Means Committee.
Although the bills never received hearings before the education committee, Democratic members recently convinced the education chair to send the bills to the Ways & Means Committee. They followed up with a letter to the budget leaders requesting a public hearing this week to start a public dialogue on fully funding education.
“It is of paramount importance to have an open dialogue,” said Sen. Rosemary McAuliffe, D-Bothell, the ranking Democrat on the education committee. “This way we can all participate in our shared priority to fully fund our K-12 obligations and provide a high-quality education for all kids.”
“The Senate has not yet had an open public dialogue on available proposals to meet our constitutional obligations to our students,” said Sen. Christine Rolfes, D-Bainbridge Island. “Giving these K-12 funding bills a hearing will do just that. This is the biggest issue facing our schools, students and parents. We must address our constitutional duty.”
Senate Bills 5570, sponsored by McAuliffe, and SB 5573, sponsored by Rolfes, address the state’s constitutional obligation to fully fund a basic education for every student, as ordered under the McCleary decision, which was further articulated in a Dec. 2012 Supreme Court order. That court order directed this Legislature to establish a phase-in plan that addresses all areas of K-12 education identified in recent education reform legislation.
SB 5570 would establish the state’s final 2018 basic education funding obligations as anticipated by the landmark education reform legislation passed in 2009 and recognized by the Supreme Court as the path to an adequate education for every Washington child. SB 5573 enacts the spending recommendations of the Joint Task Force on Education Funding, addressing how the state should begin the phase-in of education investments required by the 2009 legislation this year and over the next three biennia.
The letter sent to budget leaders, asking for a hearing on the two education funding bills, can be found here.
Visit the Senate Democratic Caucus website for a comprehensive overview of the SDC’s K-12 education position.
Fr more information: Alison Dempsey-Hall, 360.786.7887