Education Feedback

Special Session Update

May 24, 2017

supsGreetings Friends and Neighbors!

While budget negotiators are working at the Capitol to finalize our state’s new two-year operating budget, I have been connecting with leaders in our community. Recently, the chair of the Senate education committee and I met with school superintendents from around the 10th District to obtain input about the Senate’s education-funding plan. We had a productive conversation about the proposed changes to how public schools are funded in our state.

Some of the concerns that we heard in the meeting with school-district leaders involve collective bargaining and flexibility in using local resources to fund programs that are not considered “basic education.”

Despite the misinformation being widely circulated from a special interest group, lawmakers, advocates and school districts are on the same page. We all want a world-class education for our students. The problems we face didn’t materialize overnight. Our Senate majority has made education its top priority and compensates teachers fairly, investing over $4.5 billion into K-12 education since 2014 – a 33-percent increase in per-student funding. It takes time to correct a complex problem 30 years in the making. Now education spending is nearly half of the state’s almost $40-billion budget, and we are still working to improve on that.

Don’t be misled by those who oppose the Senate’s education-funding reforms, which would respond to the needs of students in ways that the current system can’t. There may be reasonable disagreement about components and specific policies, but the reality is that continuing business as usual and just throwing more money into the same system doesn’t make sense. I am sure that isn’t what the state Supreme Court had in mind in its McCleary ruling more than five years ago.

Our Senate majority is proposing a paradigm shift that puts students at the heart of education funding. We think that a per-pupil funding model, with a minimum of $12,500 per student plus enhancements for low-income students, English learners, and special education is a bold step in the right direction. A similar approach is already working in Massachusetts.

You can read more about our plan by visiting www.fullyfundeducation.org.

I value your input. Please feel free to reach out to my office to schedule a meeting or send me a correspondence with your thoughts on how we can improve.

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Hearing-loss training legislation signed

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Staying in touch

It is an honor to serve as your state Senator. Please do not hesitate to reach out to my office with questions or concerns regarding your state government.

Sincerely,

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Barbara Bailey,

Your State Senator

Contact me

Olympia Office:

407 Legislative Building

P.O. Box 40410, Olympia, WA 98504

Olympia Phone:

360.786.7618

Email:

Barbara.Bailey@leg.wa.gov

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