Sen. Steve Hobbs, D-Lake Stevens, issued the statement below following the passage of the McCleary school funding plan which included language adding classified school employees and other professional staff into a new health care program, the School Employee Benefit Board.

“For many of the men and women who work in our schools, health care costs are a burden, one that presents the awful choice between a doctor and a mortgage, or a doctor and putting food on the table.

“For young teachers and for the men and women who work right alongside our teachers – bus drivers, lunch room workers, para-educators and others – health care costs are unaffordable. These people serve a critical role in every school across our state. Despite this, these people have endured an inefficient, unfair and above all else – unaffordable – health care system for themselves and their families.

“But now, they will soon have one system. It will be fair and it will be affordable. These people work hard for our kids every single day. They deserve a fair system that works for them and works for their family and their kids. This is the right thing to do.

“The fact that this legislation comes as part of the single largest investment in our students and teachers in the history of our state is icing on the cake. I was proud to vote yes on a plan that will put $7.3 billion in schools across Washington in teachers, special education and additional investments in low-income students.

“I am a parent of three boys, one of which has graduated from our public schools and two more who soon will. Today I’m most pleased for the work we have done on behalf of all the students, all the teachers and all the parents who will soon send their children to schools that truly provide a world-class education for every kid.”

For more information on the issue facing classified school employees, click here.