Gov. Jay Inslee released his proposed supplemental budget this week. We wrote briefly about it here. The Washington Research Council has released a preliminary analysis. Unsurprisingly, given the tension around the 2015-17 biennial budget adopted last session, the release gathered critics. Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn says, “It makes no substantial progress toward the full funding of basic education.” And Senate Ways and Means chair Andy Hill says, “the governor continues to offer plenty of ways to spend taxpayer dollars, but fails to provide a sustainable way to pay for it.”
In addition to his supplemental budget, the governor announced a proposal for increasing teacher salaries. The new funding for the compensation boost would come from repealing four tax exemptions, raising a little more than $100 million a year. The repeals have been proposed before without receiving the necessary legislative support.
Charter school supporters are looking to the 2016 legislative session to maintain this important educational alternative. As you know, the state Supreme Court ruled that the state’s charter school law is unconstitutional. It’s clear that a legislative remedy can be found to keep the schools open, if lawmakers summon the will. For more information on public charter schools, visit the website of the Washington State Charter School Association. And please show your support for their efforts here.
It’s up to lawmakers to preserve these schools, which have been demonstrated to improve student achievement across the country, particularly for historically underserved students.
And it’s up to all of us to make sure legislators understand the importance of acting now. The Washington State Charter School Association has also announced formation of a political action committee.
It now appears possible, perhaps probable, that Washington voters will see two carbon initiatives on the 2016 general election ballot. Early next year the Alliance for Jobs and Clean Energy will unveil an initiative to the people to control carbon emissions. Details are not available, but the group is already receiving funding. It may join Initiative 732, a revenue neutral carbon tax on the November ballot. I-732 is an initiative to the Legislature filed by Carbon Washington, which says it has gathered the signatures necessary to qualify.
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