Friday, January 08, 2016

Wait 'Til Next Year

The Washington state legislature is committed to taking bold action on funding public education... next year.

State lawmakers’ proposal to fix school funding calls for more study

I guess some things just don't change. It's always "next year" for these people. Don't they know that we were here last year? Do they think we can't figure out that this year is the "next year" in their promises last year?

Once again, their plan for this year is to work on a plan for next year. You might wonder what happened to the plan they made last year to work on a plan for this year. Yeah, that didn't work out. It was a total failure, so their bright idea is to do it again without any changes.


Melissa Westbrook said...

I read the NPR version. It is astonishing how tone-deaf some of these legislators are.

Not even a total plan? Wonder what the Supreme Court will think.

Let's get ready to rumble.

Patrick said...

- Hey, Rocky! Watch me pull a rabbit out of a hat!
- But that trick never works.
- This time for sure!

Steve said...

Jail time and personal monetary fines. It's the only thing that will make it a priority. Or is there an impeachment process for legislators who refuse to do their jobs?


Anonymous said...

At this point my preference would be for the court to let the legislature know that Washington's public schools will not open for the 2016-17 year if a complete payment plan and the beginning of implementation of said plan is not available by summer. That gives legislature this session and the no-doubt necessary special session or two to get 'er done.

Threat of school closure has been used in other states and potentially will motivate parents and communities to insist that legislature gets going in a way that Olympia demonstrations and letter writing campaigns have not. Might also get Inslee off his duff. Not sure a governor could have done less in terms of leadership for the K12 situation. Inslee wants to get re-elected, so the only way he, too, will take a firm step forward apparently is a substantial threat of voters up in arms.


Melissa Westbrook said...

The Governor weighs on about what his 'taskforce" is suggesting. It's absolutely shocking in its lack of concern. It's all about ANOTHER taskforce to figure out teacher pay (with about $250,000 allocated to do that). I don't have the link handy but it's HB 2366.

EdVoter, you may get your wish.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Here's the link to the Governor's announcement. On the Friday before the Monday when the legislature starts up. http://www.governor.wa.gov/news-media/legislators-introduce-bipartisan-plan-taking-next-steps-k-12-funding-reforms

First, what a lot of blather from BOTH sides. No one on this "work group" should be all that proud of themselves.

Rep. Lytton. “Today we have a plan that moves us forward. But this is about more than meeting the Court’s request — this is about doing our jobs for Washington’s schoolchildren."

1) not a plan
2) moves it forward...to another taskforce

From one bill (they are identical), this oddity from bottom of page 1 to top of page 2 so please help me out:

"It is the intent of the legislature to provide state funding for competitive salaries and benefits that are sufficient to hire and retain competent certificated instructional staff, administrators, and classified staff. Additionally, the
legislature intends to minimize any disruptive impact to school districts and taxpayers."

What do you think is the purpose of that second sentence? What disruptive impact could reviewing and then paying "competitive salaries and benefits?" Do they mean the costs?

Patrick said...

As far as the second sentence, the key part is the disruptive impact to taxpayers by higher taxes and tax breaks taken away. The "school districts" part could mean the districts having to hire a bunch more teachers and add more or bigger buildings, but I think it's primarily a distraction from admitting that the legislature's main concern is maintaining low taxes for their contributors.

Anonymous said...

I thought they had a study that determined the needed state contribution to pay for basic ed. Was the study wrong?

Raise the fine to 2 million per day. Sequester the state budget. Shut down non-essential state government in September, not schools.


Eric B said...

Let's be real: if there is going to be real reform in place an functional by 2018, it needs to happen this session to allow for transition. Work needs to happen now.

I see two choices: Stop legislators' pay until real reform happens (may not be effective, most are probably wealthy enough that it wouldn't be a hardship). The big stick is jail time. I don't see any other way to get the legislators' attention.

Melissa Westbrook said...

My sadness is that I think there are those - a few - in the legislature that want to have a pissing contest with the Supreme Court. Well, this might just push that on.

I wrote to some media contacts today to point out to them that they might want to pay attention to what is happening and what IS (not may) coming.

Lynn said...

The New Jersey Supreme Court shut down their schools in 1976 over funding issues - which is the reason they have an income tax now.


Patrick said...

The Stranger this week mentioned that while the legislature is in session, incumbents can't run for office. Perhaps the Supreme Court could order that they remain in session until both chambers pass a bill addressing McCleary.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Patrick, kind of brilliant.

Anonymous said...

NJ Supreme Court justices are appointed and can get tenure after 7 years. Ours justices are elected.

1976 was a different time. Not this crazy, extreme inequality we see now. I would argue the 60-70's were our more liberal, big government days since FDR. Even SCOTUS has been turning right since (big government when it comes to the Patriot Act and eroding personal privacy). Now we have HRC for a liberal. Hahaha.

Jailing them adds to the delay. Fining them with tax money. Same budget. Maybe SC can withhold legislators' pay and per diem. Mass punishment works well in classroom management!? But then who decides and allocates SC budget?

There will be a budget, but watch for all the strings.

Eric B said...

Legislators can campaign but they can't raise money while the Legislature is in session. Inslee could wield that stick by letting them know that he'll call as many special sessions as it takes until they get it done. No fundraising between now and Election Day would put a crimp in their plans.

For jail time, the straightforward thing is to make it a working session. There's a bus waiting for them after breakfast that takes them to the Legislature and takes them back to prison before dinner. It would be helpful to have them mixed in with the general population. I'd give that about five days before a deal was done.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Eric, I agree with all you say but the Governor's press release says almost nothing about what he thinks of these efforts. You can't get more bland than this statement.

“I am pleased to see that the bipartisan group I convened was able to find common ground and develop a good foundation for answering the very difficult questions related to our next steps for financing K-12 education,” Inslee said. “I look forward to continuing to work with the Legislature this session and beyond on this important priority.”

I would have liked to see some kind of "if this doesn't happen,I'll have to consider other options" talk. I realize it is just the start of the session but this bill is just a bit piece of (expensive) nothing.

Anonymous said...

Eric, the Governor can't raise money either during the session. Why would he call special sessions while Bill Bryant is free to raise money?


Melissa Westbrook said...

Well, the Governor has consistently been against charter schools. He could prove that by vetoing any charter bill that 1) appears unconstitutional as both of them currently out there seem to be and 2) are not accompanied by real work on McCleary.

If he doesn't do it, I hope the Supreme Court brings down the hammer, not the gavel.