“For the first time I can remember as state superintendent, I want to thank an appropriations committee.”
OLYMPIA (April 11, 2013) —The state House budget proposal, released yesterday, puts us on the path to fully funding basic education by 2018. It aligns with the initial stages of education reform as outlined in Substitute House Bill 2776 and the work of the Quality Education Council, which I used as the basis for my budget request:
· K-3 class-size reduction ($225.4 million): Non-poverty class sizes would be reduced from the current 25.23, to 23.58 in 2013-14 and 21.94 in 2014-15. Class sizes in high-poverty schools would be reduced from the current 24.1, to 22.68 in 2013-14 and 21.26 in 2014-15.
· Materials, supplies and operating costs (MSOC) ($461.3 million): Our state is getting very close to fully funding MSOC. If this proposal passes, we would meet that goal in 2015-16.
· Pupil transportation ($144.1 million): Pupil transportation would be funded at 100 percent by the 2014-15 school year.
· Full-day kindergarten ($91.5 million): The number of state-funded full-day kindergarten classrooms would be increased from the current 22 percent, to 38 percent in 2013-14 and 53 percent in 2014-15. The work continues to get our state to 100 percent by 2017-18.
· Administrative and classified employee salaries ($247.9 million): Districts would no longer need to rely on funding from unstable sources like local levies to pay non-certificated employees.
The proposal also funds additional basic education requirements of McCleary, such as support for students to get them career and college ready by graduation ($75.0 million) and an increase of instructional hours to allow students the opportunity to earn more credits between 7th and 12th grade ($63.5 million).
I would like to thank the state House appropriations committee for their bold efforts to get education funding moving in a positive direction. We know where we need to be by 2018. This proposal is a good first step.