Rep. Mike Hope with Snohomish high school students Chelsea Valerie Rea, Karissa Lamphere and Ashley Turner.
House Republicans released their K-12 education budget today. Rep. Mike Hope, who serves on the House Education Appropriations and Oversight Committee, is in strong support of this budget and funding education first.
“It is a relief to finally see some action that addresses what should be the priority of government. Funding education is clearly the most important thing we should be focusing on, but to date that hasn’t been on the agenda. This could be done within existing funds and it’s our paramount duty,” said Hope, R-Lake Stevens.
This education budget is just part of the “Fund Education First” concept that House Republicans have proposed since 2006. House Bill 2533, which was heard in committee this week, is also part of the plan. The bill, which would require budget writers to pass a K-12 education budget before any other government program received funding, has strong bipartisan support.
“Not only would this bill take the politics out of funding education, it could be model legislation nationally. No other state has done this yet,” said Hope.
So far, House Bill 2533 seems likely to advance; and due to the support of this legislation, House Republicans are optimistic that the majority party will also support the K-12 education budget. Hope believes that funding education isn’t only step that should be taken.
“The court said it best in McCleary v. the State of Washington. They told us that fundamental reforms are needed and pouring more money into an outmoded system will not make it successful. So, not only do we need to focus on funding education, but we also need to make changes that ensure our children are getting the best education possible,” Hope said.
Reforms like those encouraged by Hope are also included in the budget. These reforms include changes that would allow school districts to waive unfunded state mandates, implement revised evaluation systems, address underperforming teachers, and new professional development requirements for educators.