Education Financing Update

For the entire 6 years I’ve been in the legislature I’ve worked on school funding. I’ve tried to improve the amount and the efficacy of use of the money. This year a bipartisan group of six legislators introduced a package of reforms coming from the Basic Education Financing Task Force report. I’ve written about it in this blog before (http://www.rosshunter.info/?cat=3) and will in the future.

We’re in the middle of a tumultuous period in the evolution of the bills. Our original bills (HB 1410 and SB 5444) were a 110 page first draft that we expected to engender a robust discussion. We were right about part of it – the discussion was robust, but unfortunately not substantive. The Olympia-based education groups have been very negative on the proposal, with most outside groups supportive. The legislation changes distribution of billions of dollars, and we were probably naive to expect change of this magnitude to go smoothly.

We’ve taken a new approach – we’re starting with a blank slate instead of a large first draft. We’ve introduced two bills with similar titles but no real content. The new bills are HB 2261 and SB 6048.  We will move these bills through the system while we work on re-crafting a comprehensive bill. This is the strategy we used successfully in fixing the math standards last year.

Behind the scenes the House and Senate are working daily on trying to build consensus around the big pieces of the package. We’ll recapitulate the process we used to build the original legislation with the six of us in a room, but with many more people involved. I expect this to be painful, but it’s a necessary step. Pat, Skip, Rodney, Fred, Glenn and I spent hundreds of hours learning and working with the alternatives. We’ll try to lead everyone through the same process, but in less time.

This will be a circuitous process. We need your input as we move forward. Thanks for staying engaged.

About Ross

I'm proud to represent Bellevue, Redmond, Kirkland, Medina, Clyde Hill, Hunts Point, and Yarrow Point in the Washington State House of Representatives. I am chairman of the Appropriations Committee, responsible for crafting biennial budgets. I also chair the Washington State Economic and Revenue Forecast Council.
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2 Responses to Education Financing Update

  1. Ross Hunter says:

    Because the way we compensate teachers is the largest financial component of school funding, and the most leveraged investment we can make in improving results for students. We’re trying to come up with a way to improve the experience of new teachers so that they don’t ave to jump through all the hoops to get a master’s degree early in their career when they don’t have the money to pay for it.

  2. Ross —

    Why mandate teacher peer reviews in your funding proposal? This concpet seems to belong in a different category (such as education reform, not school funding). Also, I imagine that it will be a major sticking point with the teachers unions and their ilk. Why torpedo your basically sound proposal with this one needless component?

    Aloha!

    — Chuck

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