LEV welcomes Gov. Jay Inslee and congratulates him on his inauguration today. We, too, are “proud to live in a state where education is the paramount duty,” and look forward to working with Gov. Inslee on fulfilling that duty this legislative session and in the coming years of his term as governor.
We applaud his commitment to innovation in Washington State. In education, Inslee’s call to bring “real reforms using proven models” is heartening. Particularly, we appreciate his prioritization of meeting our constitutional requirement to amply, equitably, and sustainably fund education, per the McCleary decision. As we work to meet this requirement, we agree with Gov. Inslee that we should not allow the funding debate to mask issues in our education system that demand innovation and reform.
We appreciate Gov. Inslee’s calls for a focus on STEM education, investments in quality early learning, aligning the education system from early learning through college, improving and expanding teacher and principal evaluations, and aligning what is taught in schools to help our students get the jobs of the 21st century.
We look forward to working with Gov. Inslee on these issues as we push to support a world-class education system for all of our state’s students.
Today our own George Scarola testified in support of a new bill before the House that creates a joint taskforce on fully funding education programs. The bill also proposes to remove the class size initiative that started LEV in 2000, Initiative 728.
Voters approved the measure by nearly 72 percent, one of the highest majorities for a ballot initiative in the history of the state. I-728 was supported by a vast majority of Washington Voters to increase quality outcomes for kids by investing additional resources wisely and strategically. I-728 has provided over 2 billion dollars of additional funding for public schools since 2001.
We think all stakeholders must be prepared to compromise for the greater good, and we hope this helps set the table for a rational and robust discussion about funding.
We’re comfortable with this approach because of a combination of factors. Legislation that has passed in recent years sets the table for defining how the state should prioritize funding for public schools. In particular, 2261 and 2776, bills that redefine basic education and education funding formulas, are a solid start. Many of the values of LEV’s original initiative are reflected in that legislation. Additionally, the recent McCleary ruling demands a fully funded solution based on those pieces of legislation by 2018.
The Supreme Court ruling was clear that it is not just funding, but outcomes that matter. We believe the best way to ensure the State fulfills its paramount duty is to have stable and secure funding for our schools, but it is not just about money. We must fund a system that increases positive outcomes for kids.
You can see George’s testimony on TVW
Want more information on the hearing in King County Superior Court on I-1053? PubliCola gives a wrap up of yesterday’s events.
The plaintiffs—which also included an attorney representing the governor (who feels hamstrung by the rule) and a troupe of Democratic legislators including Seattle state Sen. David Frockt (D-46) and Rep. Jamie Pedersen (D-43) (who triggered the case last year by trying in vain to repeal a loophole, which requires a two-thirds vote because its tantamount to raising taxes)—argued that the case was an urgent matter for the courts. The rule, they said, was having an impact on: 1) citizens’ right to petition their government to raise revenue, specifically for schools; 2) on legislators ability to raise taxes (it hasn’t happened under the rule, nor under previous versions going back 16 years); and 3) on the governor’s ability, as she’s required by law, to write an accurate budget. As Gregoire’s attorney, Davis Wright Tremaine lawyer Michelle Radosevich argued, “She can propose tax increases, but she can’t assume that the revenue will actually be there.”
Radosevich, also made an insightful point: The governor, who is supposed to have veto power, is taken out of the legislative process in advance by the two-thirds rule, eliminating the role she’s elected by the people to serve.
Read the whole article here.