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House Republicans release ‘Education First’ budget

OLYMPIA -- House Republican released their long awaited "Education First" budget, which explains how they would meet the state Supreme Court mandate to do a better job of living up to the constitutional requirement that educating our children is the state's paramount duty.

They propose spending an extra $903 million over the next two years for such things as shrinking class sizes in kindergarten through Grade 3, expanding all-day kindergarten, particularly in high poverty districts, and more school hours for grades 7-12. They also have money for more materials and charter schools.

For more information on the proposal, click here.

To be precise, it is a partial budget because it doesn't say what would be spent on non-school programs, other than to say programs will be prioritized and some will be cut. Those details will come later.

Rep. Ross Hunter, R-Medina, the chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, said it seems more like a press release than a budget that balances competing demands on the state's resources, and appears to have inadequate reserves.

It is, however, the first salvo in the budget battle which begins in earnest after March 20, when the state's next economic and revenue forecast is released. The Senate will release its full budget first. Majority Leader Rodney Tom, D-Medina, said that would be by April 1.

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Jim Camden
Jim Camden joined The Spokesman-Review in 1981. He is currently the political reporter and state government reporter in the newspaper's Olympia bureau office.

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