Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Washington State Republicans; Nothing if not Determined

The Senate GOP put out its budget and it's not good.  As if to not only sneer at 1351 (they have been saying all along they had no money to enact this voter-approved measure to lower class sizes), they actually increase class size.

From Class Size Counts:

The budget touted by Senate Ways and Means Committee Chair Andy Hill as “crafted to  ... prioritize education” would raise class sizes sharply in grades 4-12. 
Like the plan released last week by House Democrats, the Senate Republican budget would limit smaller classes to students in K-3 and increase average class sizes by eight to 25 percent above the new standards approved by voters in November. 

The Senate plan also ignores the new requirement to reduce class sizes in high poverty schools first, and to provide additional reductions in those same schools where kids need the most attention to succeed.

“Senate leaders’ claims that their budget ‘fully funds education’ are just plain false,” Class Size Counts Director Mary Howes told reporters. “How can lawmakers say with a straight face that this plan fulfills their duty to students? On average, they propose putting two to six additional students grade 4-12 classrooms.”

Just baffling why the GOP wouldn't start with high poverty schools first.  

They are touting full-day K, reduction in higher ed tuition by 25% and doubling highly capable spending.  With no new taxes.
Here's what the Washington State Budget and Policy Center had to say:

While the Senate’s budget proposal released today invests heavily in education for our children, it relies on unsustainable and unworkable funding sources to pay for it. Instead of raising new revenue, like the Governor and House propose, the Senate lowers the bar on important investments in our workforce, early learning, and safety net programs. It balances the budget on unspecified savings and transfers from other funds. Further, Senate leaders propose to waste $114 million in state funds on new or re-enacted tax breaks rather than invest those scarce resources into services and programs that benefit all Washingtonians.
As budget negotiations continue, the Budget & Policy Center urges lawmakers to work toward a budget that invests in equal opportunities for our children, families, businesses, and communities by supporting a dependable and equitable tax system.
As well, the Republicans didn't get their original bill tying test scores to teacher evaluations and are now tacking it onto another bill, HB 1345 (which, with some irony, is about teacher professional development).  


speducator said...

It's OK for the state to go full speed ahead after the charter school initiative passed, but not OK to fund the voter approved I-1351. So I guess the legislature just gets to pick and choose which voter approved initiatives to fund. What happens if they don't get a 2/3 vote to disallow it?

Patrick said...

I wouldn't use the word "baffling." It's perfectly obvious why the GOP doesn't want to fund education any more than they have to, and certainly doesn't want to start with high-poverty schools.

Anonymous said...

More bashing of Republican boogeymen.

Didn't the Democrats' proposal fail to fully fund I-1351 as well? But that's not as newsworthy to a largely Democratic readership.


Anonymous said...

Sorry, Fairness, but your post seems to me like a total red herring.

Yes, the Dems plan also failed to fully fund initiative 1351.

BUT -- it added significant additional revenue (without the gimmicks and sleights of hand the the Senate proposal uses). The Dems plan had more stable funding -- and Inslee's initial plan (with carbon taxes and cap gains taxes had MUCH better funding)!

AND if didn't actually make class sizes in the upper grades worse, it just chose uses of funds that didn't address the 1351 problem.

AND -- as for "not as newsworthy," -- my recollection is that many people commented on it. Those who most support 1351 disparaged the lack of full 1351 funding. Those who think that is a lost cause until other McCleary things get funded were less vocal.

Frankly, the Senate budget is a flat out disaster. I can't decide whether I am more disappointed or more disgusted.