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OLYMPIA – Washington state would spend $10 million over the next two years in an effort protect schools from a massacre like Sandy Hook as part of a school construction proposal that moved quickly through the Senate Monday.
With references to the Dec. 14 massacre at the school in Newtown, Conn., the Senate unanimously approved spending $475 million on school construction over the next two years, with $10 million of it going to make schools safer.
Republicans said the school construction package was a sign they were meeting goals to move their priorities of education, smart budgeting and jobs. The accompanying Safe School Buildings bill has the added benefit of paying for ways to protect schools from an attacker and get police there faster if they are needed, said Sen. Bruce Dammeier, R-Puyallup.
Democrats said the school safety measures were a good first start, but called for GOP support on bills they introduced Monday that take further steps to curb gun violence. The state needs better laws on firearms safety and more support for mental health services, Sen. Sharon Nelson, D-Seattle, said…
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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.