Tuesday, March 07, 2017

Dems Try Again on Levy Cliff; Republicans Say, "Time to Go"

Here's how it played out (with the two major players here being Senator Marko Liias (D) and Senator Joe Fain (R). 

From Washington's Paramount Duty:

Thank you, Senate Democrats! Yesterday afternoon, they tried AGAIN to bring the Levy Cliff Delay Bill (SHB 1059) to floor via a 9th Order. How did the Senate Republicans respond? Instead of allowing a vote to save school districts from losing $500 million, the Senate Republicans adjourned at 5:09pm to avoid the vote. 

Here's what they recommend and I agree with one additional thing:

All state legislators need to hear from us: Democrats need a thank you and ask to NOT allow anything to pass until the Republican Senators allow a vote. Republicans need to hear: • It is inappropriate to hold our kids hostage like this.

The Senate Republican plan requires $2.5 billion in unnamed cuts to other state services. That's unacceptable! It’s not a serious plan.
• We are not going to even consider the Senate Republicans’ plan until they pass the levy cliff bill.*
We weren’t asking you to vote for it. We are telling you to vote for it, and we reject your reasons for not doing so.


*My change to that is to allow a vote.  It will pass if there is a vote.


My add-on is that we should call the Governor and ask that he make it crystal-clear that he is not signing ANY bill until this one gets a vote.  

There is NO reason for this.  Voters HAVE already spoken on these levies and said yes to them and yes to their levy rates.  

And ANYONE who allows districts throughout the state to be hurt - with no good reason - should be ashamed of his/her self.   

How to find your legislator - Yes, DO contact your legislator again and lay out what the WPD is saying. 

Please call the Governor - not e-mail - call.   360-902-4111

Update: Senator Reuven Carlyle on Facebook on what happened yesterday:
Your state senate GOP majority voted 25-24 today to reject same-day registration and voting in Washington. They conducted unnatural rhetorical yoga moves arguing it is riddled with fraud.
And they again prevented a vote on the levy cliff to avoid millions in cuts to schools.
Other than that Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?

28 comments:

Anonymous said...

Clearly, you have no problem with the SEA/WEA holding kids hostage during teacher strikes, but you're up in arms over the levy cliff bill --- which actually doesn't hold kids hostage at all --- and the actions of the Senate Republicans.

If there is any harm, it's only to district budget writers who have to draft two budgets. This outrage in the Senate Democratic caucus and WPD is an outrage over ADULT issues. This is typical. Senate Democrats work for the WEA and the adults in the system, not kids and definitely not kids who have CONSISTENTLY gone unserved and underserved in the current system. Extending the levy cliff simply extends the inequities in this system.

Ask yourself this --- who does the levy cliff extension really serve?

Albert Blog-Warrior

Anonymous said...

"who does the Levy cliff extension really serve"- Albert- the cuts to school districts budgets affect all of the kids across the state from multiple districts tremendously. It also lays off teachers.
-voter

Anonymous said...

voter, each of the legislative proposals currently working their way through the legislature have a levy cliff solution in them. Additionally, last year's budget includes language to extend the levy cliff if a full McCleary solution is not agreed upon by April 15.

So, as of right now, there is no harm to any students. These cuts have not happened. There are no budget cuts and there are no teacher layoffs.

Albert

Anonymous said...

Albert, kids are going to be hurt by the failure to extend the levy cliff. You're saying we should underserve them even more than we already are. Is there some reason you think firing teachers and nurses and counselors and ending programs is a good thing?

Calling this an "adult issue" is what we in the business call a "lie."

Snowball

Outsider said...

It's quite astonishing what Albert said:

"... last year's budget includes language to extend the levy cliff if a full McCleary solution is not agreed upon by April 15."

Is that true, and if so, what does it mean? It would be astonishing if the levy cliff was a moot point, and SPS officials and school board didn't know that. Either Albert is bluffing or the lunatics are running the asylum.

Melissa Westbrook said...

only to district budget writers who have to draft two budgets."

Only? The Senate bill is like slow-moving mud and will NOT get done in time to prevent this levy cliff from happening.

That's a fact.

Did you miss the list of how many districts will lose real dollars?

That's a fact.

The voters said yes to these levies AND their levy rate.

That's a fact.

Districts are making their budgets NOW and they have to in order to give proper notice to staff they WILL be laying off.

That's a fact.

This intransigence by Senate Republicans is disgraceful.



Melissa Westbrook said...

Albert really should get back to business with the Washington Roundtable and their various mouthpieces.

Anonymous said...

Albert is wrong. Last year's budget included language saying that a levy cliff bill *will be introduced* by April 15. It does not automatically extend anything. The levy cliff isn't a moot point, it's a real threat to kids and teachers being pushed by Republicans and their toadies with the intent of using the threat to force us to accept bad education reforms.

Snowball

Anonymous said...

I had the date wrong. It's April 30. This is taken from the WSSDA 2016 Legislative Report:

"Through language in the 2016 Supplemental Operating Budget the Legislature makes a commitment to address the overreliance on levies. In an effort to 'facilitate budget and personnel planning by local school districts' and to 'minimize any disruption to that planning,' budget language requires the Education Funding Task Force (established in the McCleary plan bill, E2SSB 6195) by April 1, 2017 to either: (a) Determine that the Legislature will meet its obligation to provide for compensation reform and eliminate school districts’ overreliance on local levies by April 30, 2017; or (b) Introduce legislation to address the levy cliff by extending current state levy policy for at least one calendar year, with the objective of enacting such legislation by April 30, 2017."

Albert

Anonymous said...

Albert, you didn't read that language closely or carefully. It does not obligate the legislature to do a damn thing. All it says is "introduce legislation", "with the objective of" passing it. The House has introduced and passed legislation. The Senate is sitting on it because they want to scare us all into accepting their voucherization plans.

It's basically the 2016 legislature saying to the 2017 legislature "pretty please will you pass it?" It was stupid of Democrats to agree to this, but then, the person who authored that provision and insisted on only a one year levy cliff extension was fired by the angry voters of his district last fall. His replacement, Lisa Wellman, is leading the charge to pass this bill.

Joe Fain and Mark Miloscia need to take a long look in the mirror and ask themselves if they want to join Steve Litzow as people who lost their Senate seats because they messed with their districts' schools.

Snowball

Melissa Westbrook said...

I'm with Snowball; you can only push the envelope so far and I believe that some legislators like Fain and Milscia are going to find this out next election time.

And, hopefully, there will be those of us to remind voters in their region just what they did (or did not) do. Hurting schools? A pretty big thing for most voters.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Melissa, for finally pulling the trigger and showing everyone that you're willing to try to "out" anyone who disagrees with you. You missed the mark, of course, but you tried nonetheless.

I was going to say it was only a matter of time before you did so, but you've done it before.

You've been threatening this for days if not weeks and you've finally done it. Good for you.

Albert

Outsider said...

Snowball, what are their "voucherizaton plans"? I had understood the McCleary battle as mostly Republicans wanting to cut other state spending to pay for schools vs. Democrats wanting to raise existing or create new taxes.

Anonymous said...

The Senate Republican plans opens the door to vouchers by turning education funding into a per-student block grant. It's a key step in making vouchers easy, because if their plan passes, all you have to do is then pass a simple follow-up law that says "the per-student funding can be used at any school, public or private or religious." This is why it's sometimes called "backpack funding" - basically the student carries the money with them wherever they go.

Snowball

Another Name said...


My thinking is in alignment with Snowball. There is a reason LEV and SFC are advocating for per pupil funding model. Multiple school districts want to maintain the prototypical funding formula.

As well, proposed legislation regarding the levy cliff is yet to be seen.

Superintendents across the state have met with Governor Inslee and asked for a delay in the levy cliff. I"ll take their word over Albert's word- any day.

It doesn't take much to figure out Washington Round Table types. No one was "outed".

Melissa Westbrook said...

I didn't out anyone; I simply said you sound like the Washington Roundtable. Some people sound like LEV, others like Stand for Children. And you are,of course, once again, wrong. I never said I would out anyone.

Anonymous said...

Melissa, you make a distinction without a difference. You attempted erroneously to name the place I work. You said I "should get back to business with the Washington Roundtable..."

But it doesn't really matter to most of your readers that you'll willing to out people. They're in no fear of you outing them. You only out your detractors, or at least attempt to so.

You're transparent.

Albert

Anonymous said...

I know for a FACT that Westbrook has been "OUTING" people for years to the district.

Westbrook, do you deny my allegation?

Mary Chen

Anonymous said...

Westbrook you should really register as a lobbyist. I think if someone would push you would be found in violation of several laws.

Mary Chen

Anonymous said...

Gee Melissa,
I have never seen such a collection of crybaby trolls.
Thank you for your tireless advocacy.

-SeattleTechParent

Anonymous said...

It's true that Melissa has been emailing information to school district employees including teachers and board members.

She even sends information to the teachers union. These emails have been see by many staffers. She discloses names of commenters on her blog and others she is at odds with.

Melissa, do you deny this or can you explain the emails and why you're doing this?

Mary Chen

Anonymous said...

People should not expect privacy on the internet and should never say anything in a comment they wouldn't want printed on the front page of the local news paper with their name.


Hopefully Anonymous

Anonymous said...

Exactly right! To think otherwise is to be extremely foolish.

-SeattleTechParent

Anonymous said...

@Mary

This is not news. Melissa has made it clear she forwards on certain types of comments and emails. As long as she leaves out students names I have no problem with it and neither should you.

--TBD

Melissa Westbrook said...

Yes, Mary, I do deny it. No, I'm not a lobbyist but interesting how that allegation keeps getting made by one single troll. (If only I was getting paid!)

Melissa Westbrook said...

FYI, we are now getting back on topic. Any comments not related to the topic will now be deleted.

kellie said...

Anyone who knows anything about budgets knows that timing of the money is also important. Indeed anyone who has ever paid a late fee understands that there is a critical timing element of money.

Albert's assertion that the "only harm" is to district budget writers is overly simplistic and beyond naive. Had the Levy Cliff been resolved in January, then there would have been hundreds of staff hours wasted on budget fire drills. That would have amounted to lots of dollars that could have been spent on key initiatives spent on a fire drill. This would not have been directly visible in a classroom but it does impact impact education.

But now that this mess has dragged into March, there are impact that will be seen in the CLASSROOM, even if it is resolved today. SPS needs to hire about 200 new teachers every year, just to keep pace, and this hiring has been stalled by the levy cliff.

Teachers are not widgets that can be replaced at a whim. They are professionals and are critical to any education happening in the schools.

This is not hyperbole. Just speak to any school that lost an incredibly talented first year teacher because they were unable to extend their contract in a timely manner. Just speak to any Title 1 school about the extreme pain they face every year because of the inability to hire enough teachers by the start of the year. Just look at any high school that has to trim key staff this Spring and may or may not be able to replace them if the money returns.

Title 1 schools really bear the brunt of this problem. When schools add new staff in over the summer, after the budget cycle, these positions are often filled by internal candidates and the domino effect means that South End Title 1 schools wind up short on staff in September.

High Schools have been severely challenged to hire key positions in a timely manner because of our regular budget cycle. The levy cliff is going to exacerbate that challenge.

Yes, students are being held hostage in this mess.



Anonymous said...

These cost pressures being discussed are the exact same type that led to manufacturing jobs being decimated by robots and offshoring. It's time for robots to enter public education in some capacity and help reduce cost. I've see some very unruly classrooms in my time at SPS that could use something new.

PA_juc