Yesterday the Legislature began the second special session of the year, because the Legislature has not come to an agreement on an operating budget or an education plan to comply with the state Supreme Court’s McCleary decision.
Legislation long sought by overcrowded school districts to grant flexibility for building new schools cleared its final legislative hurdle this week. The state House Tuesday approved changes made by the Senate last week to House Bill (or as it's now known as, Engrossed Substitute House Bill) 1017, which allows school districts - in some circumstances - to build schools outside of the state Growth Management Act's (GMA) mandated "urban growth areas."
Yesterday we posted a policy brief comparing the various education funding proposals. After publication, we received additional information from the Office of Financial Management that allowed us to fill in some of the holes regarding Gov. Inslee's proposal.
Also, we changed the first row of the table to show the full NGFS+ policy change for K-12 in each proposed budget. Previously we had attempted to tease out the policy changes related to McCleary, but that's tricky given the major changes the proposals would make to public schools funding. This should be a cleaner comparison.
In a new policy brief, we provide a side-by-side comparison of the education funding plans that have been proposed by the governor and Legislature. This is an update of the comparison we published last month.
When then-President Obama signed the bipartisan "Every Student Succeeds Act" into law in late 2015, it marked a significant change in federal education policy. The previous law, President George W. Bush's "No Child Left Behind," had grown increasingly controversial for what critics on both the left and right called excessive federal overreach into local education policy.
Earlier this year, the House passed an education funding plan (HB 1843). The House-passed 2017–19 operating budget would not fund that bill; instead, it would fund HB 2185. HB 2185 has not been heard by committee.
This year's contender for the Little Legislation That Could, House Bill 1017, appears to finally be on its way to passage in the state Legislature.
Washington isn't the only state grappling with K-12 education funding issues. On March 2, the Kansas state Supreme Court ruled that the State of Kansas was violating the state constitution by not adequately funding public schools. Sound familiar? The Kansas City Star reports:
Currently school districts are allowed to levy maintenance and operation (M&O) levies of up to 28 percent of their state and federal revenues. That maximum is scheduled to revert to 24 percent in 2018. This is the levy cliff.
The state released its fiscal note of SSB 5607 (the Senate-passed education funding bill) on Friday. It shows a substantial gap between the resources needed to fund the Senate and House plans.