Senate Reforms: Consolidated School Employee Benefits

Another of the reforms in the Senate's proposed 2012 supplemental is SSB 6442, which would establish a consolidated purchasing system for public school employee health benefits. (It was passed by the Senate Ways and Means Committee Feb. 23.)

Senate Reforms: Education Funding

As I mentioned yesterday, the newly proposed Senate supplemental includes several reforms.  These include SB 6618, which would repeal Initiatives 728 and 732.  (The bill has seen no action in the legislature so far.)

Seattle Times, Microsoft executive urge action on higher education

Sunday's Seattle Times carried a strong editorial page call to action. "Losing kids on the path to prosperity" charts a course from early learning through higher education. Editorial page editor Kate Riley explains the urgency.

Moving ahead with education reform despite state budget challenges

Last Friday, I noted that education reform dominated the first week of the legislative session. A good op-ed by Dean Allen, CEO of McKinstry Co. and current chair of the Washington Roundtable, explains the urgency.

Education reforms top first week of legislative session

The first week of the 2012 legislature draws to a close this cool Friday the 13th of January. Encouragingly, education reform has found substantial bipartisan support. In the Seattle Times, Brian Rosenthal has a good overview of yesterday's action.

Microsoft & Boeing announce $50 million scholarship fund

Today, coincident with the governor's signing higher education bills, Boeing and Microsoft pledge $25 million each to fund scholarships for students in high-demand fields.

This is very good news, as the governor points out.

Update on Higher Education Tuition

Last week, we posted a policy brief comparing the House and Senate budgets’ treatments of higher education. Both budgets propose significant tuition hikes on state-resident undergraduate students, with the increases in the Senate budget somewhat greater than those in the House budget (11–16 percent vs. 11–13 percent).

New Brief on Higher Education in the 2011-13 Budgets

We have posted a new policy brief on higher education in the House and Senate budgets, titled "Higher Education: State Funding Down, Tuition Up." It is available through this link.


New Brief on How Public Schools Fare in 2011-13 Budgets

Following last week's brief on proposed 2011-13 expenditures in the human services budget area, today we take a look at public schools.  (See also this brief for an overview of the House and Senate budget plans.)

Keeping the best teachers in the classroom when it's necessary to downsize

That's my subject in today's Everett Herald column.

Right now, layoffs are handled by seniority -- last hired, first fired, with no regard for teacher performance. A pair of bills (HB 1609 and SB 5399) would create a performance-based system for staff reductions.