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Korsmo’s Weekly Roundup: March 30

It was wonderful to see so many of you last Thursday at our breakfast! Thank you to those who made it—I hope you found the event as inspiring as I did. A huge thank you to our speakers, Dr. Elson S. Floyd, President of WSU; Dr. Jill Wakefield, Chancellor of Seattle Colleges; Frank Blethen, Publisher of The Seattle Times; and Kaysiana Hazelwood and Midheta Djuderija, two students with big dreams. Their stories were just amazing. And important reminders why we do this work.

Speaking of the work, now’s the time when it gets interesting. With just four weeks left in the (scheduled) session, conversation is turning to the state budget. The House Democrats’ budget was released Friday. The Senate Republican version should come out in the next few days. Neither budget will pass whole-cloth, but they’re both important in signaling the priorities of either chamber. The House budget, for example, proposes closing tax loopholes and creating new taxes, while remaining silent on the property tax issues that vexed the Supreme Court in their school funding decision. (more…)

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Korsmo’s Weekly Roundup: March 20

For nearly every occasion in life there is a metaphor, tortured or otherwise, that amplifies the circumstance. Whether mundane or horrifying, they roll from the tongue without much thought. For those of us engaged in Olympia on education, the offending phrase would have to be “no news is good news.” At a minimum there’s not been a lot to report in terms of education policy advancing—so if it is true that no news is good news, then education must be in fan-freaking-tastic shape.

Not that I’m throwing shade on our legislative friends, as this is the time of year when things typically go a bit off the rails, with policy bills traded or held close like baseball cards and state budget proposals still wrapped in mystery. To get a better idea of where things are, you can check our legislative bill tracker. But remember, even when you think something’s dead, until Sine Die (the Legislature’s equivalent of the closing bell) nothin’ is done, done. (more…)

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Korsmo’s Weekly Roundup: March 13

Here’s some of our latest take on the session in Oly.

Well, we’re at the midway point. More or less. IF this legislative session were a high school football game, the marching band would be warming up their instruments and getting ready to hit the field. Ah, the things we do to support the team. My high school years were marked by marching to the tune of television theme songs, moving into some formation or other that provided the visual cue of what we were up to. When it wasn’t “Baretta,” back in the day it was the Captain and Tenille’s “Love Will Keep Us Together,” punctuated by 150 high school bandsies forming the word “love.”

What sweet irony it would be to have a 1,500 member band forming the word McCleary out on the capitol lawn at some point during the second half of the session. A visual and auditory reminder to fund education—and music education to boot. Perhaps while playing Meghan Trainor’s “Lips are Moving.” But I’m getting ahead of myself. If you’re still confused about McCleary, check out this short video.

For those of you following the session at home, this week marked an important cut-off date—policy bills had to be voted out of their house of origin. Bills that didn’t see movement in either house are dead, though not positively, absolutely, reliably, or undeniably dead. While individual bills can’t be resurrected, concepts within the bills can. This is often how amendments are conceived. You can find the halftime stats here, at our legislative tracker. You’ll notice that one of our signature bills, the Early Start Act, has passed out of both chambers—great progress, but not the finish line, as it now goes through the budget process. (more…)

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