Dear friends and neighbors,
On Tuesday, I introduced Senate Bill 5825 that offers a moderate approach to fully funding our schools and resolving the state’s McCleary lawsuit. One of my top priorities this session was to work hard to protect your local investments and find a way to make sure local levies are part of the solution to fully funding our schools. I am confident that my bill does just that.
SB 5825 locks in place local levies at their current rates for every school district. This addresses the Supreme Court’s concern that locals levies are unreliable because they have to be voted on every four years.
Additionally, the bill doubles the amount of funds the state provides to property poor districts, allowing them to adequately compensate teachers – a major sticking point in the McCleary ruling. This is achieved by increasing state levy equalization assistance from $765 million to $1.5 billion per budget cycle.
This plan is a win-win for school districts in both property rich and property poor districts. School districts in wealthier areas will gain additional flexibility to raise money for their local schools with the assurance that their tax dollars stay local. For rural areas, state support will be doubled so they are better able to provide a high-quality learning environment and offer competitive salaries to hire more teachers.
I prefer my proposal to the Republican plan because schools get more money and it costs the state less.
We’ve now seen the Republican proposal and the Democratic proposal; this is the moderate proposal. At the start of negotiations, it’s important to get all ideas on the table. I’m confident that my proposal is a fresh concept that will help bring both sides to the table in a productive and collaborative manner to resolve our K-12 funding crisis.
If you want to learn more about my bill, be sure to click here to read the Seattle Times report on my proposal.