for the education of all children residing within its borders,
without distinction or preference on account of race, color, caste, or sex."
Washington Constitution, 1889
That's why school funding is going to be the big issue in this fall's state election and in the 2017 legislative session that starts in January.
There are starkly different visions for what should happen. As educators we put students at the center of everything we do. Here are our recommendations for fully funding basic education as required by the McCleary decision:
- Fund smaller class sizes in every grade and additional support staff (from nurses to custodians) as required by I-1351, which is now the law. Students have the right to small class sizes and professional support that provide the individual one-on-one attention they need to be successful.
- Fully fund competitive, professional base pay and benefits to attract and keep caring, qualified teachers and support staff. Students have the right to caring and committed teachers.
- Fund 10 days of professional development. Students have the right to qualified and well-trained teachers.
- Fund the full cost of supplies, operating costs, and transportation, and make sure all schools are equipped with modern technology. students have the right to well-maintained schools, current curriculum, safe buses, and adequate school supplies.
- Fund specific needs, including special education, gifted, learning assistance program, and ELL services. All students have the constitutional right to a quality education.
- Fully fund school construction to modernize existing schools, build new schools, and expand classroom capacity. Students have the right to learn in clean and safe facilities.
- Protect levy funding and preserve local control of public schools. All students have the right to a public education that meets their unique needs. Local school boards, educators, and parents best know their students' needs and the specific needs of their own communities. They are not served by a levy swap that redirects local taxpayer dollars to the state.