Funding options to get from here to there
There are numerous ways to achieve ample, equitable, and sustainable funding for public education. To fund the League of Education Voters’ vision of an education continuum, it is going to take more than minor tweaks to our current funding system. Instead, we must overhaul how we fund public education in our state.
It won’t be easy. But if it was easy, we would have done it long ago.
To be successful will require us to think differently about the investment we make to support education and prepare each of our state’s students for the jobs of the future.
Below are three well-discussed ideas. The list is by no means exhaustive and should not be interpreted to preclude other options.
State property tax reform
State property tax reform would shift more responsibility for revenue collection to the state by uniformly increasing state property taxes, while reducing the local property taxes established through the passage of school levies. This would ensure a more reliable revenue stream for all schools, with more consistent funds over time and more equitable distribution.
Prioritizing education spending
Education is the state’s “paramount duty.” This approach seeks to increase the percentage of education spending as it relates to overall spending. Wherever possible, and without harming critical investments in social services and public safety, education investment should be the priority for state dollars.
Washington does not currently raise sufficient tax revenues to fully fund an effective education system and maintain funding for existing government services. Our state is also often cited as one of the most regressive tax structures in the country. In order to continue funding essential services and meet our constitutional duty, the state should reform its tax code to generate additional tax revenue, reduce the regressive nature of the current system, and put the state on the path to fully funding public education.
- Early learning
- K–12 education
- Postsecondary education
- Addendum and sources
- Download A Way Forward
- Download the executive summary