Friday, September 11, 2015

Inslee Not Calling Special Session - Doesn't Back Charters

Yet.  This from The Stranger:

Today, Governor Jay Inslee admitted to the outlaw nature of our current state government in a letter (.PDF) to all state legislators that, among other things, says flatly that Olympia's standing is eroding "with Washingtonians who expect we will support public education and live by the rule of law." 

 After three years of them not living by the rule of law, that's a bit of an understatement.

But given this concern for how he and others in Olympia are now perceived, will the governor call a special session right now to find the money for Washington public schools that's still needed in order to get himself and the legislature on the right side of the Washington constitution?

After all, what's still needed for schools is around $2.6 billion—a large amount, true, but only a fraction of the $8.7 billion Inslee gave Boeing in tax breaks during a very speedy special session called in 2013. (That, by the way, was the largest tax break ever given to any private company by any state, and as it was being handed out lawmakers and the governor knew they simultaneously needed billions for education. In other words, they found $8.7 billion for Boeing in a few days but have spent years not-finding a smaller number of billions for public schools, even though a decent public education is "the paramount duty" of our state under the Washington constitution.) According to today's letter from the governor, the answer to the question of whether he will call a special session for education right now is no—for now.

No special session (as some lawmakers want) to help out charter schools now that our state's charter schools law has been found to unconstitutionally use public money for private schools. (Inslee doesn't support charter schools, anyway.) And no immediate special session to find the billions he and lawmakers still need for Washington's public schools. 

Inslee does, however, have a "workgroup" of select lawmakers that's studying up on the whole unconstitutional underfunding of public schools thing, and how it might be solved, and if that workgroup can "find consensus" by November 19, when legislators are all going to be in Olympia anyway for "Assembly Days," then Inslee will call a special session "to get this work done."

Bottom line: In year three of our outlaw legislature, and day three of the Seattle teachers strike, Governor Inslee says it'll be months before he considers calling a special session on education funding.

How come it took so long for this "workgroup" to get going?  I guess everyone had a summer vacation.

Upside: something is being done.
Downside: members of the Workgroup include Chad Magendanz who loves charters.

I'm a bit confused because the Governor also says in his letter that AG Ferguson has filed a motion for reconsideration from the Supreme Court (I guess for the ultimate "whoops") with "but at this point we don't yet have a final decision from the Supreme Court."   (I think that may mean the Court is waiting for the KC Court to rule and then have a final ruling?  Any legal eagles?)

He also says he is glad the charter schools "secured private funding."  He also says that "it's important that students' education not be interrupted" and it would be but only at that school.  Public schools would take ALL of them in.

Very important from the letter:

I do not believe it is in the best interest of the state to call a special session to attempt to cure the constitutional concerns with the current system.  I should also note that I don't believe the McCleary workgroup is the place to debate charter schools.  We must deal with the much larger financial, policy and constitutional issues surrounding McCleary.

And he goes on to reiterate his lack of support for charter schools.  "That remains my position."

Boo-yah!  Good job, Governor - McCleary first.


Anonymous said...

About the rule of law and Olympia.

Consider the Common Core State Standards adoption authorized before CCSS was even written by 6696 in 2010. 6696 contained a provision that the Superintendent of Public Instruction would submit a detailed report to the legislature on or before Jan 1, 2011, which would reveal all the impacts of adopting CCSS and SBAC. This requirement was a state law written just for Randy Dorn. He failed to do it. He was a month late, so late in fact that few if any read the report before the hearing held less than a week after he submitted the report.

No one seems to care as the oligarch's machine rolls over the people. About time that McCleary stops the rolling machine. -- Go Gov Jay, Go Gov Jay, you can do it.

-- Dan Dempsey

Anonymous said...

Everyone should rise and fall in the same boat as the budget dictates. IMO, the school board should raise pay by equal percentage across the workforce, if they want good morale.

Just one more example that school boards are arbitrary and capricious in how they dole out taxpayer funds, and that doesn't work, as an expensive school shut down illustrates.

SB 6130, the legislature will do the job fairly and equitably.


Anonymous said...

Seattle teachers are illegally striking in part because the state legislature is illegally underfunding education. Charter schools might as well keep running with public funds, because it seems obvious that laws don't apply in Washington.

Anonymous said...

Boeing was a future tax cut. That is always easier than raising or allocating revenue. The legislature could do something similar by cutting the required school days in half. This would effectively cut class sizes in half with the same amount of funding.


Anonymous said...

@SD, balancing the budget by reducing required high school hours to 5 hours instruction per day or 900 per year. Does forcing high schoolers to sit for 6.5 hours make sense? Better to have some free will and personal motivation with options for free running start and career and tech schools. Forced butts in seats is a huge waste of money.


Anonymous said...

NNNCr wrote: "Just one more example that school boards are arbitrary and capricious in how they dole out taxpayer funds, ..."

No .. I do not see it this way.

The School Board in Seattle has been quite consistent in following the directions of the Superintendent and the Super's Senior Staff.

For years decisions were made by a consistently uninformed board. Yes the board in many cases had been told stuff by senior staff and read wildly inaccurate or incomplete action reports "just" prior to voting.

The Board was always completely consistent in following the directions of the Superintendent. ... and so went the taxpayer funds spent on something or other that those in the Upper Ed Leadership liked.

Vote Geary, Burke, Harris, etc. to put an end to this nonsense.

Bewildered Mind

Ebenezer said...

Amazingly dim-witted editorial in the Tacoma News-Tribune, bashing the Washington State Supreme Court for their charter schools decision.

Anonymous said...

@ Bewildered Mind, you're right. Unfortunately, the superintendent is always "the smartest guy in the room" and he directs the board instead of the other way around.

Looks like some people in LA have had enough with this and have started a "vet the sup" campaign. Good thinking.