Negotiations Can Begin on School-Funding Plans

Legislators in Olympia might have pieces in place now to begin hammering out a court-ordered school-funding solution.  Dan Frizzell has more.

Democrats at the Capitol – lawmakers as well as Governor Jay Inslee – released their education-funding plans weeks ago. Since then they’ve been waiting, somewhat impatiently, for their Republican counterparts to come up with a plan of their own so productive negotiations could begin.  The GOP plan finally dropped on Monday, and majority Democrats in the House did their best to find good things to say about it.  Representative Kristine Lytton chairs the House Finance Committee and was a Democratic lead on the bipartisan education-funding task force that met for the past several months.

“Some of their plan is very similar to what we’ve done.  You know, they know that there should be additional allocations for students who need additional services.  So there actually are components of it.  I just, I’m concerned with the tax piece of it, and I’m concerned that we’re going to have loser-loser districts, with increased taxes and less money going to those school districts.  And that’s not good for kids. 

Lytton was a public school director in Anacortes before she came to the Legislature, and pointed out districts like hers could be among those that would suffer under the Republican plan.  A quick analysis by nonpartisan staff at the Capitol indicates more than half the state’s one-point-one million students would see less per-pupil funding, while property taxes in many of those districts could actually increase.  The bright spot is, the competing plans are at last on the table, and hopes are high that a compromise can be reached by the end of the current 105-day session.  In Olympia, I’m Dan Frizzell.