Sixteen days into the second special session brought agreement on an operating budget. This Seattle Times article captures what many of us are thinking about this budget.
Our finance and Human resource offices have been developing a budget on assumptions. They can now move forward knowing what the budget drivers will be. We know that MSOC (Materials, Supplies, and Operating Costs) have been increased as well as movement to fully fund transportation in this biennium. These are two areas we wanted to see funded that I blogged about here so this is good news for us.
On the not so good side are decisions to reduce class size in K-3 and to fully fund all day Kindergarten. Though these are positive and needed changes, we will not qualify for this additional funding in this biennium. I believe that the quote below captures the reality the legislators have created with this operating budget.
Dan Steele, government-relations director for school administrators, said he wonders what will happen next biennium when, to meet the court’s order, the Legislature will have to look at adding another $2 billion to $3 billion to the public-school budget.
“The ramp,” he said, “is that much more steep.”
In a separate and important decision for us, agreement on a capital budget has also been reached. I have been told that money was included for us to complete the purchase of property in the donut hole from King County. I want to celebrate, but haven't been able to confirm. Keep your fingers crossed.