The Issue: The McCleary Decision & Fully Funding Public Education
The biggest issue right now for education in Washington State is fully funding basic education. The Washington Supreme Court ruled unanimously in 2012 that the State legislature is not meeting its obligation to fully fund basic education. Legislators are currently working on the final push to approve equitable funding for the Washington schools.
Two different bills have been approved and need to be reconciled. The House bill (put forward by Democrats) provides consistent and ample funding through a capital gains tax. This plan would not fully fund education by September 2018 however, despite the Supreme Court’s deadline.
The Senate bill (proposed by Republicans) involves large cuts to other programs, like ECEAP preschools, TANF (support for poor families), housing and homeless services, and educational programs like clubs and after school programs. The Senate bill cuts 1.5 billion from needed services. Additionally, the Senate bill would cut taxes for large companies and increase property taxes on millions of home owners (and renters through higher rents).
Links to More Information:
The site paramountduty.org has a lot of information on the McCleary decision and educational funding.
Here is a letter to the editor explaining some of the funding issues that the legislature is trying to resolve.
This is a Seattle Times editorial explaining the House and Senate bills.
This is a video about the different proposals to fully fund education and their impact on tax payers and students.
Taking Action: Call Maureen Walsh (Senator)
The organization Paramount Duty has a script for calling your legislators to urge adoption of the House bill HB 2186, not the Senate bill SB 5607. Here is the link to that script.
Our Senator is Maureen Walsh. She won an award for supporting early learning (which is cut back in the Senate Bill) so she might be open to discussion about the Senate bill. However, she did vote FOR the Senate bill on February 1, 2017 and ran unopposed. PO Box 40416 Olympia, WA 98504 (360) 786 – 7630
In Walla Walla our House Representatives (whose votes are not as needed because Democrats control the House, but maybe they can exert pressure on the Senators or support a revised bill) are Bill Jenkin (R) (360) 786-7836 | AND Terry Nealey (360) 786-7828 |