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Greetings Friends and Neighbors,
The Legislature’s second special session continues with concerted efforts to find a bipartisan solution to our state’s education-funding needs. Budget negotiators are hard at work in Olympia, striving for compromises that will benefit our state’s 1 million schoolchildren. That is not an easy task. Those of us in the Senate majority have been consistent in our belief that the current funding system is broken, creating inequities in the quality of a student’s education. That is why we propose updating the system to put students first, guaranteeing at least $12,500 per student, with additional resources to meet their individual needs. You can read more about our plan here: www.fullyfundeducation.org.
While budget negotiators are at the Capitol seeking common ground, I have been in our legislative district meeting with stakeholders on education. I recently met with teachers in Moses Lake to discuss the Senate’s approach. While listening to their concerns, I was reminded how vast amounts of disinformation are being promoted by special-interest groups. You may have heard or read ads attacking the Senate’s Education Equality Act – ads that were recently debunked by the Tacoma News Tribune, which recently featured a story putting the specifics in perspective.
Our plan is not perfect, and we recognize that. Like me, other members of the Senate majority have been spending time with educators and school-district leaders in their communities to gain insights about how we can further improve our proposal. At the same time, we’re setting the record straight when it comes to the hype by advocates in Olympia.
The fact is that we all want a great education for our students, but we have reasonable disagreements about how to accomplish that end. Our proposal focuses on the state’s constitutional obligation to pay for basic education. With the nearly $3 billion in additional revenue coming to the state, we have proposed an approach that continues the top priority we’ve put on education. The House spending plan, in contrast, requires about $8 billion in additional taxes, yet still invests less money in schools than we are proposing. I believe that we should not necessarily continue to just put more money into the same system and expect different results – especially if “more money” means historic tax increases.
Here is an overview and link to the fact-check that the Tacoma News Tribune did about the ads against our education-reform proposal.
Claim 1: The Senate Republican budget “doesn’t increase funding” for the state’s public schools.
The facts: The school-funding plan put out by Senate Republicans would increase money for public schools by a minimum of $871 million over the next two years, according to an analysis by the state Office of Financial Management. That’s after taking into account how much the plan would reduce local school-district property taxes, which is a key element of the Republican plan.
Claim 2: “The Senate Republican budget slashes funding for special education.”
The facts: According to the state Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, keeping up with the rising cost of special-education services in Washington would cost the state about $965 million in the 2018-19 school year.
The Senate budget plan would surpass that number, putting about $1.1 billion into special-education services that year, according to OSPI. The GOP budget plan also would provide more than the state needs to maintain special-education services each of the next two school years, according to OSPI’s analysis.
Click here to read more, unbiased fact-checks on claims made by special-interest groups.
It is an honor to serve as your state Senator. Please do not hesitate to reach out to my office with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your state government. Please watch your email, as I look forward to providing you with regular updates throughout the session.
13th District Senator
103 Irv Newhouse Bldg.
P.O. Box 40410
Olympia, WA 98504
Click here to visit my website