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Spin Control

Posts tagged: education funding

Court to Legislature: Sanctions possible for lousy school plan

OLYMPIA – A recent report on how the state will spend more money on education is so inadequate the state Supreme Court threatened Thursday to hold the Legislature in contempt.

The state’s highest court said the Legislature’s latest update on how the state can meet its constitutional duty of properly paying for public schools does not follow the instructions the justices issued in January. It ordered a hearing in September and told the Legislature to send someone ready to explain why the court shouldn’t levy a fine or take over the budget process until education is properly funded.

The order, technically known as a Show Cause Order, could ignite the simmering constitutional dispute between the Legislature and the court. . . 

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Inslee: Do more hard things. GOP: Be more specific.

OLYMPIAWashington should raise its minimum wage, spend more on schools and highways, raise teacher salaries and do something about climate change, Gov. Jay Inslee said Tuesday.

“We have done hard things. And we can do more,” the Democratic governor told a joint legislative session in his annual state of the state address.

Legislative Republicans and a Democrat who joined them to form the Senates ruling coalition were quick to criticize the speech as long on ideas but short on specifics. . . 

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Senate votes to shift school funds

OLYMPIA — The Senate voted to tap a trust fund set up for school construction to help pay for other education programs and make its budget proposal balance, despite warnings it was full of “gimmicks.” 

Minority Democrats tried unsuccessfully to block some of the accounting changes needed to make the Majority Coalition's “no new taxes” budget work. It suspends a pay increase mandated by a 2000 initiative for a cost-of-living for teachers, something the Legislature has done most years since voters overwhelmingly approved the ballot measure.

It also allows the state to dip into the public lands trust fund, which a 1965 constitutional amendment sets aside for school construction, and use $166 million of it for other education programs.

“It may or may not be constitutional, but it's not good policy,” Sen. David Frockt, D-Seattle, said.

Sen. Bruce Dammeier, R-Puyallup, countered that the Senate bill manages to add nearly $1 billion to improve public schools — something it is under orders from the state Supreme Court to do — without raising taxes: “The thing that matters is not where the money comes from… but where the money goes.”  

Efforts to amend the bill were rejected, and it passed on a 28-20 vote

Fund ed first, House Republicans say

OLYMPIA – House Republicans, who say they are fed up with the slow pace of budgeting process in a session where that was supposed to be the main thing the Legislature tackled, argued Thursday for a new approach.

The state should set aside what it wants to spend on K-12 education first, then figure out what’s left for other state programs. They call it “Fund Education First” and say it’s in line with both the state Constitution’s declaration that education in the state's public schools is the state’s “paramount duty” and a recent state Supreme Court ruling that the Legislature must do more to meet that duty.

“This is not a gimmick. It’s a workable solution,” said Rep. Kevin Parker, R-Spokane, a co-sponsor of a bipartisan bill that would make that change in budgeting.

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About this blog

Jim Camden is a veteran political reporter for The Spokesman-Review.


Jonathan Brunt is an enterprise reporter for The Spokesman-Review.


Kip Hill is a general assignments reporter for The Spokesman-Review.

Nick Deshais covers Spokane City Hall for The Spokesman-Review.

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