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Saturday, April 27, 2019

State Funding for Public Education Should Be Clear By End of Day

Sadly, what is clear is that, at least in the Senate, it appears that there are senators who want to drive more money to charter schools but then, don't really want to allow more money to go to traditional schools.
So there's good news and there's bad news from the State Senate tonight.


Good news: They just passed ESSB 5313, the levy flexibility bill. It was a strangely close vote, 25-23 with 1 excused.

Bad news: They also adopted Palumbo's amendment that would give charter schools the same amount of money as public schools in a given district. Interestingly, that amendment passed with 31 votes, so 7 Senators - *including Palumbo himself* - voted for an amendment for charter schools and then voted against the bill itself, with that amendment, to help public schools.

Then there's the news that will take some time to figure out: What the bill actually does. Here's how the final numbers shaped up - allowable levy collection rates were raised to:
  • The lesser of $2.50 per $1,000 of assessed value or $2,500 per pupil for school districts with fewer than 40,000 FTE students;
  • or The lesser of $2.50 per $1,000 of assessed value or $3,000 per pupil for school districts with 40,000 FTE students or more.
That last provision appears to apply only to Seattle.

Mullet's amendment limiting collective bargaining rights is gone. But instead there's language asking the State Auditor to review levy expenditures and penalizing districts.
Here's the language:
"Requires that the State Auditor review of local revenue expenditures include a review of the expenditure schedule for certain supplementary enrichment activities.

Requires that, should the State Auditor find a school district has used local revenues for non-enrichment activities, the school district's maximum enrichment levy collection authorized under law must be reduced by the unauthorized expenditure amount in the following calendar year."
So, more stuff to figure out. And this bill still has to pass the House. It's a mixed bag, definitely good news for public schools, but really troubling that charter schools got to get a huge amount of new money by leveraging the threat of cuts to classrooms.

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Charter School Amendment roll call:

Yeas: 31 Nays: 16 Absent: 0 Excused: 2

Voting yea: Senators Bailey, Becker, Billig, Braun, Brown, Carlyle, Cleveland, Fortunato, Hawkins, Holy, Honeyford, Hunt, King, Kuderer, McCoy, O'Ban, Padden, Palumbo, Pedersen, Rivers, Rolfes, Salomon, Schoesler, Short, Takko, Wagoner, Walsh, Warnick, Wellman, Wilson, L., and Zeiger

Voting nay: Senators Conway, Darneille, Das, Dhingra, Ericksen, Frockt, Hasegawa, Hobbs, Keiser, Liias, Lovelett, Nguyen, Randall, SaldaƱa, Van De Wege, and Wilson, C.

Excused: Senators Mullet, and Sheldon

10 comments:

mollyspringer said...

I am really dismayed about how legislators were blackmailed into voting for charter provision and expressed !y anger to Send Carlyle. Curious how sponsorship ended up voting No.
Question-How does this affect our recently passed levy? Sharing is usually good but not in this case.

TheGoodFight said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
joanna said...

I received this email from Rep. Sharon Tomiko Santos yesterday: Thank you for contacting me with your thoughtful advocacy on behalf of a solution to the local levy problem created by the McCleary school funding fix. I am pleased to inform you that, early this morning, the House passed a “clean” local levy policy that does NOT include diversions to charter schools or a “claw back” of the investments made last year through the McCleary policy. I am hopeful that the Senate will agree with and adopt this policy so that our school districts will be able to better support the needs of our students.



Thank you, again, for writing. I look forward to seeing you soon.



Best,



Sharon Tomiko Santos

State Representative, 37th District

Washington State Legislature

Melissa Westbrook said...

Wow, thank you, Joanna.

joanna said...

From LWVWA Catherine Ahl: All's well that ends well. The House amended SB 5313 - took the charter school part out - and the Senate concurred.
Sleep well.

Kate (Belltown) said...

Perhaps I'm not reading this (from the Democrats' legislative website). I don't see anything that indicates a lifting of levy caps. Also, SEBB and SPED numbers look inadequate. Am I missing something? Has WPD put out a summary of what this budget does and doesn't do to address trying to fix the McCleary mess the legislature passed last year?

Kate (Belltown) said...

Oops, forgot the budget info:

Education: This budget fulfills the bipartisan promise made by the Legislature to fund health care coverage for school employees through the School Employee Benefits Board (SEBB) program. This investment will cost $328 million in this budget and $837 million over four years.

$155 million for additional special education funding ($294 million over four years).
$61 million for additional levy assistance for areas with low property values.
$12 million for paraeducator training.
$2.5 million additional funding for student mental health and safety.

Anonymous said...

Once again the libs targets peoples homes. They let the sub $500K sellers of homes off the hook by lowering the sales tax to 1.1%, but the plan relies on homes selling for over $1.5 million. What might be gained in the $1.5 million bracket could be lost in lowering the the $500k bracket. I would like to see the scatter shart just to how this fundng model is expect to work.

500K or less 1.1%
1.5M to 500K 1.28%
over 1.5 million 2.75%

JS

Anonymous said...

@JS

The way I understand it, the first 500K of anyone's home is taxed at the lower rate of 1.1%. So if your house is worth for example 750K, you pay 1.28% on only 250K.

The capital gains tax which did not pass even with a democratic majority. This tax would have exempted retirement accounts, home sales etc so it would not have hurt the majority of Washington residents. The house & senate each had a version and only the .04 % of Washington residents who make 200K or 250K (house versus senate proposal) per year on their investments would have been taxed.

Our current tax structure is ranked as one of the most regressive states in the nation at 50th least regressive. My understanding is that it did not pass as they did not want to base their budget on implementing a tax that would end up in courts being challenged as an income tax. Washington has lots of tax problems due to this situation.

JK


Anonymous said...

Typo...0.4% of Washington taxpayers would have been affected by the proposal had it passed.

JK