Tuesday, March 29, 2016

New Budget from Legislature Doesn't Address "Levy Cliff"

Update from the News Tribune (by the way, want to read good reporting? read the News Tribune):
That increase in the levy lid is set to expire in January 2018, causing school district officials to seek an extension.

Some lawmakers argued that school district officials won’t need the increased levy authority if the Legislature meets its obligations to fully fund public schools before 2018.

The compromise budget says the Legislature will revisit the issue next April, if lawmakers determine they aren’t on track to fully fund public schools by April 30. 

“We have got to be committed to the solution,” said state Sen. Bruce Dammeier, R-Puyallup, who called the plan a “well-worked compromise.”

Other lawmakers said school districts need more certainty than the budget provides. State Sen. Mark Mullet, D-Issaquah, said many school districts will have to plan for layoffs and budget cuts without the extension of the levy cliff.

“This is a devastating blow to school districts throughout our entire state,” he said. “What we’re doing is we’re making the next 12 months completely miserable for school districts.”

Read more here: http://www.thenewstribune.com/news/politics-government/article68831862.html#storylink=cpy
So, to review, there are legislators who believe in pushing, pushing right to the edge of time constraints to fulfill McCleary. What do I believe?  I think there are those in the legislature who truly want to upend the public education system in this state and believe they can do it by not fulfilling Mccleary and continuing to expand ed reform like charter schools and vouchers. 
 Update from KPLU:
Lawmakers say their plan now is to quickly vote on the deal even though that means little time for anyone to scrutinize it. 
Legislative staff say details on what’s in the budget won’t be available until Tuesday morning. The legislature could adjourn as early as Tuesday night.
Tweet from Melissa Santos at the News Tribune:
The final budget also won't delay so-called "levy cliff" for school district
Unbelievable.  Backstory from Jan. 2016 in the News Tribune:
State lawmakers say 2016 will be the year they finally will agree on a plan to fully fund basic education, something the state Supreme Court ordered them to do two years ago.

Paying for that plan, however, is something that probably won’t happen until 2017. And school districts throughout the state say they can’t afford to wait for the Legislature to come up with the money.

Districts are approaching what officials call a “levy cliff,” an upcoming reduction in how much money school districts can collect through local property tax levies.
Because of that, district officials say they urgently need the Legislature to either fix the unconstitutional way the state funds education — a big job that legislative leaders have said they are unlikely to tackle this year — or else delay the planned reduction in local levy authority that threatens to cut millions from school district budgets in the 2017-18 school year.

Read more here: http://www.thenewstribune.com/news/politics-government/article54019170.html#storylink=cpy
In addition, the New Tribune tweeted this:
House budget lead Hans Dunshee, D-Snohomish: "We didn't address the teacher shortage as much as we'd like." No new pay raises 
Every single time I see these kinds of stories about this session for this legislature, I just wonder, "What's the Supreme Court going to think?"


Read more here: http://www.thenewstribune.com/news/politics-government/article54019170.html#storylink=cpy

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Melissa, the thoughts of the court have been rendered meaningless unless there's a consequence for defiance of the court. Isn't the Kansas legislature or it's equivalent, talking about closing schools? Let lawmakers answer to the students and parents. Would that be effective for WA? I'm thinking yes, because our governor isn't deploying his power and he really ought to before it's gone. Why are we who object expected to let it go?

Westside

Charlie Mas said...

Here's a thought: if the Court shuts down the public schools over McCleary it won't affect the charter schools, or other privately owned schools, since they are funded through a different source. That might make the charters look good - they don't close for teacher strikes and they don't close for funding crises.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Charlie, they are funnel funded thru Mary Walker School district with state dollars. MWSD contracts with them to fulfill the ALEs for each student. (Not entirely sure how it works with Summit whose kids "homeschool." It was an interesting thing to read those public disclosure docs because Summit was on-board with doing ALEs and then changed. Bree Dusseault at Green Dot worried to others that it might weaken their charter system.)

If the Court shut down payments, I'm sure most charters could stay open with their big-bucks friends' dollars.