Education

A new budget outlook, and possible budget process changes

Yesterday the Economic and Revenue Forecast Council adopted a four-year budget outlook based on Gov. Inslee’s proposed 2017–19 operating budget. According to the outlook, his proposal would leave a near general fund–state plus opportunity pathways (NGFS+) unrestricted ending balance in 2019–21 of negative $2.041 billion (and total reserves would be negative $596 million).

2017 Legislative Session Starts Today

The state Legislature begins its 2017 session today. This being an odd-numbered year, session is scheduled to last 105 days, with an April 23 adjournment date. Almost nobody believes lawmakers will finish their business by then, however, in which case the governor can call a special session (or a series of special sessions as the case may be).

Big issues on tap for this year include:

Lawmakers on K-12 funding panel issue competing recommendations

In Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, every year on Feb. 2 residents await the sign of a groundhog - Punxsutawney Phil - to forecast the onset of spring. In the Washington state Legislature, lawmakers and other observers were awaiting a sign yesterday of how much members of the Joint Education Task Force could agree on solutions for full state funding of K-12 education (as required by the state Supreme Court's McCleary ruling) in 2017.

Gov. Inslee’s education proposal would increase spending by $3.9 billion and add $4.4 billion in new taxes

Today Gov. Inslee released his proposal to increase education spending in the 2017–19 biennial budget. Some of this proposed spending is related to the McCleary decision.

The new budget outlook includes an estimate of final McCleary costs, despite a lack of agreement on what that number will be

Yesterday the Economic and Revenue Forecast Council (ERFC) adopted a new budget outlook that includes the end of the 2015–17 biennium, 2017–19, and 2019–21. It is controversial in that it includes an estimate for how much it will cost to complete compliance with the McCleary decision on school funding.

New-ish filing in McCleary case

In all the pre- and post-election news, we missed a recent filing with the state Supreme Court on the McCleary education funding case.

Business schools get real

The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday on a shift in teaching methods by M.B.A. programs:

Business schools are moving away from the case-study method—the long-held standard of business education—and asking students to resolve actual corporate dilemmas in real time.

Growth Management Act: Time for a change?

On Sept. 20, the state House Local Government Committee held a work session in Olympia to review the Growth Management Act, Washington's comprehensive land-use planning law which has been in effect for 25 years. It was part of a larger effort by the committee to consider changes to the law.

At this meeting, the topics of discussion were: 1) The pros and cons of the GMA, and 2) What works and what doesn't.

Previewing tomorrow's McCleary hearing

Tomorrow the state Supreme Court will hear arguments in the McCleary case, after which it will decide whether to continue sanctions on the Legislature. The News Tribune has a preview of what could happen.

The property tax has a long history (and plays a key role the McCleary case)

In Washington, schools are funded mainly by the property tax (levied at the state and local level). In the McCleary case on school funding, the state Supreme Court said that local levies are not dependable and regular enough to be used for basic education. 

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