Monday night, Gov. Jay Inslee released a preview of his education budget.
He makes some much-needed progress on education funding, but his plan falls short of meeting the requirements of both the McCleary decision and I-1351. That is unacceptable. We urge you to tell the Governor and your legislators to fully fund smaller class sizes in all grades and to improve professional educator compensation, per the WEA 2015 legislative priorities.
Here are a few highlights, though many details are still lacking, and we expect to learn more when the governor releases his full budget this Thursday, Dec. 18.
- The budget doesn’t fully address the requirements in I-1351. It does make progress in K-3, beginning in 2016, and provides limited investments toward other staffing categories in accordance with I-1351.
In 2016-17, K-3 class sizes are funded at 17 students and full-day kindergarten is fully implemented at all schools, with the I-1351 language that allows class size funding to be used for direct services if classroom space is not available.
- The COLA is funded in the budget along with additional funding (about $150 million) to provide educators 3 percent in 2015-16 and 1.8 percent in 2016-17. In addition, the governor meets the legal pension requirements.
- Funding for Materials, Supplies and Operating Costs (MSOC) is increased significantly beginning in the 2015-16 school year.
- The budget proposal to be released on Thursday will create more affordable higher education opportunities — but at the same time will under-fund those institutions. More scholarships and frozen tuition — but not enough funding provided for higher education.
- Finally, higher education faculty salaries, community and technical college faculty increments, and many, many other details of the budget haven’t been released yet. Stay tuned.