WA–State House Passes Plan to Fix School Funding, but Not How to Pay for It


The Washington state House approved a plan Wednesday to fix the way the state pays for public schools, but without approving the taxes Democratic leaders say will be necessary to pay for it.

The measure, which cleared the House on a 50-47 vote Wednesday, is Democrats’ preferred way to respond to a state Supreme Court order requiring lawmakers to fully fund public schools.

House Bill 1843 would boost what the state pays to hire beginning teachers to $45,500, while also requiring the state to pay school districts an average of about $71,000 per teacher and $117,000 per school administrator.

It differs from a rival plan favored by Republican leaders in the state Senate, which would impose a new statewide property tax to replace local school district property tax levies.

In the McCleary case, the high court has called on the Legislature to end the use of local levies to pay school employee salaries, which the court has said are basic education costs that should be paid by the state.

The passage of the House plan Wednesday sets up what is expected to be a long negotiation toward a final McCleary solution.

Read more…(The Olympian)

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