Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Wednesday was the cutoff to pass bills out of their “House of origin.” In other words, it was the deadline for House policy bills to be sent over to the Senate and vice versa.
Sen. Bruce Dammeier, Rep. Dawn Morrell and I will be holding a town hall meeting on Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to noon at the Puyallup Public Library at 324 South Meridian. We will give an update on the legislative session and take your questions and comments.
Fund Education First
Yesterday, my caucus unveiled our Fund Education First budget. It is a stand-alone, K-12 education budget that would meet the mandates of the state constitution and state Supreme Court's McCleary decision. The plan focuses on high standards, innovation, and accountability with flexibility. It protects taxpayers by not raising taxes.
The state Supreme Court ruled in the McCleary decision that the Legislature has not complied with its constitutional duty to make ample provision for the education of all children. It also said that reforms enacted by the Legislature, House Bill 2261 in 2009 and House Bill 2776 in 2010, would remedy state funding deficiencies if fully implemented and funded. I believe that the Fund Education First budget would address the court's ruling and lays out a strong education blueprint for our educators and students without raising taxes.
The plan would dedicate $15.1 billion to K-12 education in the 2013-15 budget cycle, compared to $13.6 billion in the 2011-13 biennium. It would also increase the percentage of the operating budget allocated to K-12 education from 44 percent in the 2011-13 budget cycle to 46 percent in 2013-15.
The Fund Education First budget assumes the following bills that are under consideration:
· House Bill 1134 would authorize state-tribal education compact schools.
· House Bill 1424 would enhance the state's K-12 dropout prevention, intervention and reengagement system.
· Senate Bill 5237 would implement strategies to improve literacy skills for K-4 students.
· Senate Bill 5243 would establish policies to support academic acceleration for high school students.
· Senate Bill 5329 would create a state-funded required action process for the state's 10 persistently lowest-performing schools.
· Senate Bill 5587 would modify the statewide assessment system to transition to higher-quality exams.
I would be interested in your feedback on our Fund Education First budget. Whether you're a teacher, parent, public school retiree, or taxpaying citizen, I would value your input.
468 John L.O'Brien Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
360-786-7968 | Toll-free: (800) 562-6000