education funding

Elaine Thompson / AP

In a filing to the state Supreme Court, Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson said the education funding plan passed by the legislature in June fulfills the state’s constitutional duty. Ferguson is asking the high court to end the long-running McCleary lawsuit.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

Teachers have been in short supply in Washington state in recent years. In a survey of school principals last fall, 20 percent said they were in a crisis mode in terms of hiring certificated teachers, and another 70 percent said they were struggling but getting by.

Elaine Thompson / AP

Across Washington, school officials are putting their own math skills to work as they try to figure out what the state’s new school funding plan means for their budgets. For guidance, they’re turning to the state Superintendent of Public Instruction Chris Reykdal, who said he’s still working through the numbers himself.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

Lawmakers released an education funding plan for the state of Washington at the end of June. The plan allocates $7.3 billion to K-12 public schools throughout the state over the next four years.

But there are still a lot of questions about whether this goes far enough to satisfy the state Supreme Court ruling known as the McCleary decision.

"House of Representatives chamber in Washington State Capitol" by SounderBruce is licensed under CC by 2.0 http://bit.ly/2oIa9Wh

Washington is one of the few states in the country where legislative power is split between two political parties.

That means getting things done comes down to the art of the deal.

Right now, Republicans and Democrats in Olympia are locked in negotiations over one of the most consequential issues facing the state: How to fund education

Washington state school districts will not go over the so-called “levy cliff.” At least not next year. The state House Thursday sent the governor a bipartisan measure to extend current levy capacity for another year.

Washington state’s 105-day legislative session is almost at the halfway point. But a final, bipartisan deal on school funding could still be months away.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

One of the most pressing questions in the debate over education funding in Washington state is about how much money should come from local school districts in the form of levies.

Voters around the state see levies on their ballots regularly, but understanding what they have to do with education can get complicated fast.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

Lawmakers in Olympia are spending this year’s legislative session coming up with a plan to fund basic education throughout the state. One big sticking point during the discussions has been teacher salaries and who should be responsible for paying them.

There are also questions surrounding something known as “TRI pay.” It stands for “time, responsibility and incentive,” and is similar to overtime pay.

"This is an intolerable situation," Sen. Lamar Alexander said last week in a heated speech on the Senate floor.

The Tennessee Republican is chairman of the Senate's education committee, and he is furious with the Education Department. He even gave states some remarkable advice:

"If the regulations are not consistent with the law, I don't believe [states] should follow them," he said. "If the department persists, then the state should go to court to sue the department."

Washington Governor Jay Inslee said he’s “undaunted” after a partisan dust up over school funding. The Democrat Thursday sounded a hopeful note that lawmakers will find common ground.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

The state Supreme Court will give advocates another month to file a response to justices' recent ruling striking down Washington's charter school law.  The extension likely means the charter schools can continue receiving public dollars through much of October.

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Gov. Jay Inslee said he encouraged state legislative leaders to begin working on a solution to fundamental equity problems in Washington’s system for funding public schools during an hour-long meeting Monday.

The governor's statements come a week after the state Supreme Court took state leaders to task for dragging their feet in complying with the McCleary school funding ruling. Last Thursday, justices urged Inslee to call a special session and announced they would begin fining state government $100,000 every day until lawmakers fulfilled their demands.

Cacophony / Wikimedia Commons

 

Washington lawmakers are approaching the halfway mark of their 105-day session. Hot issues include marijuana, mental health, oil trains and cap-and-trade.

But the heavy lift for lawmakers will be writing a new two-year operating budget that increases funding for public schools. Both House Democrats and Senate Republicans will unveil dueling budget proposals in the weeks ahead.

Cacophony / Wikimedia Commons

 

Washington lawmakers are in contempt of court over school funding. But it’s a couple of non-funding issues that could create a partisan rift.

Republicans are back this year with two controversial school reform measures. One would require teacher layoffs to be based on performance, not seniority. The other would make student performance on a statewide standardized test part of a teacher’s annual evaluation.

AP Photo / J. Scott Applewhite

Washington state is at risk of losing nearly $40 million in federal funding after lawmakers left Olympia without passing a teacher evaluation bill.

Without the bill, the state failed to secure a waiver for an onerous requirement under the No Child Left Behind Act. As a result, the fate of federal funding for local preschool programs and extended day services now hinges on what federal education officials decide in coming months.

Here's an explanation of why the lawmakers didn't pass the bill, and where the complex issue now stands. 

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

The final two weeks of the Washington legislative session may come down to a battle over tax breaks.

Democrats want to eliminate a series of tax exemptions to fund teacher cost-of-living raises and other education priorities. Republicans propose just the opposite; they want to renew several tax incentives with the goal of creating or preserving jobs.

AP Photo

Minority Democrats in the Washington Senate want to tax oil refineries, bottled water, prescription drug resellers and out-of-state shoppers. The proposal released Tuesday could generate $100 million per year for public schools.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

Gov. Jay Inslee is making another push for lawmakers to close tax exemptions to fund education. The Democrat made his pitch Tuesday, but there’s no indication the mostly Republican majority in the Washington Senate can be persuaded.

The money would pay for the reforms the Legislature has already approved, including a 1.3 percent salary increase for teachers and staff. The governor said the money will include sending $130 million to K-12 public schools to pay for textbooks, computers and curriculum updates.

AP Photo

More than 20 environmental groups have joined together with a common priority this short legislative session: close what they say is a huge loophole benefiting big oil companies.

The Environmental Priorities Coalition includes big names like the Sierra Club, American Rivers, Fuse and the Cascade Bicycle Club. They don’t always see eye to eye on things, but when it comes to oil companies and the state tax structure, they’re all sure something’s not quite right.

When the Legislature made its annual report to the Washington Supreme Court this week on progress toward improving the way the state pays for public schools, lawmakers said they did the best they could under the circumstances. Legislative critics do not agree.

The president of the Seattle City Council says the state needs to make sure it adequately funds schools – and that may mean the state has to raise taxes. 

The state of Washington faces a grim budget deficit – more than $2.5 billion over the next two years, by one estimate. At the same time, the state also has to boost money for schools, according to a state supreme court decision.

Photo by Bellamy Pailthorp / KPLU News

If the skyrocketing cost of a college degree seems intimidating, you might want to consider the skilled trades as an alternative – especially if you’re female.

That was the message at the Washington Women in Trades annual career fair at Seattle Center, where dozens of employers aimed to recruit young women, enticing them with the chance to try their hand as a carpenter, painter or steelworker.

SEATTLE — The Washington Supreme Court plans to issue a ruling today on a major case concerning the state's obligation to pay for public school education.

OLYMPIA, Wash. - Washington Governor Chris Gregoire wants to put teeth into a statewide system for evaluating teachers and principals. In Olympia Tuesday, Gregoire said she'll ask the Legislature to approve a new four tier performance rating. It would go from unsatisfactory, to basic, to proficient, and top out at distinguished.

The governor wants the law to require educators in the two lowest tiers improve within a year or be fired.

Associated Press

The state constitution says it’s Washington’s “paramount duty to make ample provisions for the education of all children,” but is it failing to do that? This afternoon, the state Supreme Court will consider arguments on both sides.

Gov. Chris Gregoire has signed a measure giving the state's six four-year colleges and universities ability to set tuition.

At the bill signing ceremony at a Seattle high school Monday, The Boeing Co. and Microsoft Corp. also announced that they would each pledge $25 million over the next five years to a new scholarship program and endowment which Gregoire also signed into law Monday.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

Advocates for Washington's universities are presenting a more unified front in Olympia this year. They hope the closer coordination will help them make a stronger case for higher-ed funding. A coalition of groups gathered on the steps of the state capitol Thursday.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

Lawmakers face stark choices when it comes to the budget. Those choices were on display Monday as the House voted on a cost-cutting bill. Democrats and Republicans split over what to cut next: education or social services.

Gary Davis / KPLU

Making headlines this morning: 

  • Feds Begin Seattle Police Review
  • Details Emerge in Port Orchard Shooting
  • Business Push Back on Seattle Parking Rate Hike
  • Most Painful Education Cuts Yet

 

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