Publicola is reporting that some legislators - notably Senator Rodney Tom - aren't really interested in putting more money into our K-12 public education system. Apparently, even with all the mandates (including Common Core),our schools have enough money.
I keep asking - over and over - how Senator Tom would spend the money for better outcomes. What are districts spending the money on that he thinks they shouldn't and what would HE spend it on? I never hear that answered.
State Sen. Steve Litzow (R-41, Mercer Island), the chair of the senate's education committee, sent a letter to Gov. Jay Inslee today calling for bicameral, bipartisan talks to get cracking on K-12 funding per the Washington State Supreme Court's recent 8-1 warning that the state was not on track to meet the court's earlier McCleary mandate to fully fund K-12 education by 2018. The court has given the legislature until April 30 to submit a plan.
Litzow's sensible letter comes just a day after he pushed off-point education reform bills in his committee (and check the PubliCola record on this, we've actually been on the Republican reform side of this debate; here's just one example of Josh's Arne Duncan cheerleading). But the fact is: the funding questions are more pressing. And the legislature has passed a batch of reform bills already.
Litzow's letter also comes just a day after his own conservative caucus mate, Sen. Michael
Baumgartner (R-6, Spokane), threw a Twitter tantrum saying the court had overstepped its authority.
Litzow's letter, however, acknowledges the court's "jurisdiction."
Isn't the Supreme Court's "jurisdiction" the Constitution? They have not proscribed anything to the Legislature except "you need to fully fund K-12 ed."
Litzow's letter also follows a pair of letters he received yesterday from state Sen. Sharon Nelson (D-34, Maury Island), the Democratic senate minority leader, and state Sen. Rosemary McAuliffe (D-1, Bothell), the ranking Democrat on the education committee, saying a delay in meeting the court's order would be "both unconscionable and unconstitutional" and urging him to set up a regular work group to meet the court's mandate to come up with a funding plan by April 30.
What is it going to take for our state to fund to even the NATIONAL average for school funding?
It's embarassing to be in a state with a good economy, smart people, and yet, a backwards legislature.