OLYMPIA— A resolution introduced in the Senate calls for a Washington state constitutional amendment to allow school bond issues to pass with support from a simple majority of school district voters. Currently, a 60% supermajority is needed to approve bonds for school building, maintenance or safety measures. 

A minority of voters shouldn’t be able to defeat school district efforts to build needed facilities, provide infrastructure upgrades and improve safety for our students,” said prime sponsor Sen. Sam Hunt (D-Olympia). “This resolution aims to bring democracy to our school districts as well as empower parents, guardians and the community with the right to choose how to spend their hard earned tax dollars.”

Senate Joint Resolution  8207 needs two-thirds support from each chamber – at least 33 votes in the Senate and 66 in the House – before the question can go before voters.

Cosponsor Sen. Lisa Wellman (D-Mercer Island) said, “Schools, especially small districts, have for years struggled to pass bond issues – with teachers and parents on the streets often collecting more than 50 percent support but failing to get the currently needed supermajority. We’ve heard stories of black mold, of roofs caving in, fire hazardous classrooms — and still a minority of this body is keeping us from making this meaningful change.  Giving all school districts equal access to democracy is the right thing to do.”

SJR 8207 would make the constitutional change needed in order for Senate Bill 5823 to revise the relevant statutes. SB 5823 only needs a simple majority to pass the Senate.