In our podcast, we interview policymakers, partners, and thought leaders to spotlight education policies, research, and practices so that together we can create a brighter future for every Washington student.
In this episode, League of Education Voters Communications Director Arik Korman asks Representative Sharon Tomiko Santos (D-Seattle), Chair of the House Education Committee, how she envisions the legislature responding to special education needs from the community, what the next steps are for House Bill 1541, better known as the Opportunity Gap Bill, and what her vision is for improving education in Washington state.
The Legislature made significant changes to the K-12 education funding structures in 2017—infusing more than $7 billion in state money into the system over four years through House Bill 2242. As the fiscal impacts of the changes became clearer, legislators proposed a range of changes to address the concerns that districts have voiced around HB 2242.
As the legislature made changes in 2018 to their plan to fully fund education, League of Education Voters feels it is important that the changes should be focused on:
Direct investments based on student need. Any changes to the funding system should drive resources to districts based on the needs of their student populations.
Eliminate disparities between districts. Modifications made to the structures put in place in HB 2242 should address unintended impacts that created (and recreated) inequities between high-property value/low-poverty districts and low-property value/high-poverty districts.
Attracting & retaining educators. State funding formulas should ensure that districts across the state are provided enough resources to attract and retain a diverse educator workforce.
Increase transparency in funding system. Increased access to data on spending and student outcomes is essential to ensure the effectiveness and equity of the new systems and structures put into place.