Governor Inslee’s proposed 2013-15 education budget of $1.26 billion is a positive first step towards providing ample, equitable, stable funding for education.
The Governor’s budget highlights many of LEV’s 2013 funding priorities, including:
- Meeting the demand and access for quality early learning programs
The Governor proposed an additional $35 million to ECEAP.
- Full-day Kindergarten implementation
The governor proposed increasing funding for 50% of schools, beginning with high poverty schools.
- Continued support for quality professional development for educators and successful implementation of the new teacher and principal evaluation system
The Governor proposed over $90 million to support TPEP implementation.
- Protect student aid and expand access to quality post-secondary opportunities
The Governor proposed an additional $24.7 million for the State Need Grant and State Work Study program, as well as $35 million for the College Bound Scholarship Program.
- Support for programs to close the achievement gap (i.e. academic acceleration, English Language Learners, extended school day/year)
The Governor proposed an additional $21.9 million to support ELL learners and $12.5 million to help support children reading by third-grade through the Learning Assistance Program.
Three significant LEV priorities are missing from the Governor’s proposal:
- Creation of a meaningful 24 credit high school diploma
The Governor proposed additional resources to hire middle and high school teachers so that instructional hours can be increased from 1,000 to 1,080 – the number of hours required for a 24 credit diploma. But the Governor’s proposal does not link the additional staffing and instructional hours to graduating all students college and career-ready.
- Support for Common Core Implementation
The Governor’s proposed budget includes no funding for Common Core implementation.
- Support for Working Connections ChildCare
The State’s largest Early Learning program is not identified as an investment priority. The majority of the state’s low income kids deserve a high quality early learning experience.
After years of cuts to education, it is heartening to finally be talking about investing. Closing outdated tax loopholes is a meaningful first step. However, the State Constitution and the McCleary decision are clear that ample funding for basic education must be accomplished by means of dependable and regular tax sources. Relying on taxes that will be subject to annual challenges from interest groups and a likely initiative challenge does not meet this requirement. We applaud the Governor’s effort, but there is more work to be done.