Thursday, June 6, 2013

Movement in Olympia . . .

Things are starting to happen in Olympia as the House unveiled their budget that was developed in collaboration with Senate democrats.  With less than a week to go before the end of this special session this is an important and necessary move to preserve hope of a budget compromise without a second special session.  The released budget is less than their original budget proposal and reduces the gap with the original Senate budget.  In this WASA review of the budget it also reduces the amount of K-12 funding in their original proposal o meet the McCleary requirements.

The McCleary down payment is approximately $839 million, compared to almost $1.3 billion in the original House budget.

The House budget, though less than the previous budget, does fund in categories that support our needs.  They fund the new transportation formula and MSOC that I blogged about here.  We now wait to see how the Senate responds.  There are still gaps and differences in revenue and tax issues that need to be resolved between the two legislative bodies.  More importantly, we know that there are education and non-education reforms that the Senate Coalition expects before agreeing to any end-of-session deal.  The WASA review identifies some of these reforms measures.

Whether the Senate will concur with this plan is to be determined. It is also yet to be determined—even if the Senate is willing to adopt this budget—if the Senate will accept any budget before the House adopts a series of “reform” measures. . . however, it is clear that at least three education “reform” bills are included: A–F letter grading of schools; third grade reading intervention; and “mutual consent” (principals’ veto authority over staffing assignments).

Below is a comparison of the various budgets including this latest House version down payments on the McCleary decision.  Thee is obviously a long way to go to meet the recommendations of the Joint Task Force on Education Funding.

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