Education

Senate Budget – Unconstitutional Fund Transfer?

In the Senate Republican budget they transfer $166 million of the “Common School Construction Fund” into the operating budget. The Treasurer does not believe he has the constitutional authority to make this transfer and has said so publicly. The Senate Republicans are waving a letter from their staff attorney that…


Legislative Update

We’ve gone through the first week. The governor and the state-wide officials have all been inaugurated, I fit into the same tuxedo I got married in 23 years ago for the inaugural ball, the Senate is in uproar about Senator Tom’s defection and the consequent change in partisan control, the…


What’s in “McCleary?”

In 2012 the Washington State Supreme Court found that Washington State is not funding our education system at anything close to the level the constitution requires. Just before the holidays the court opined again, that “the overall level of funding remains below the levels that have been declared constitutionally inadequate.”…


Budget Outline 2013-15

In 2013 the Legislature has three big budget problems to address. It may be that there are other issues for the Legislature (gun safety, mental health, transportation…) but as the budget chair I have an odd focus on what I’m responsible for. Balance the 2013-15 budget, plus make sure that…



Impact of Early Learning

The New York Times had an article this weekend on the impact of Kindergarten teachers on student success later in life. It’s worth reading for lots of reasons, but perhaps the title is good enough: “The Case for $320,000 Kindergarten teachers.”  The conclusions of the article are pretty useful: Successful…


Education Financing Update

For the entire 6 years I’ve been in the legislature I’ve worked on school funding. I’ve tried to improve the amount and the efficacy of use of the money. This year a bipartisan group of six legislators introduced a package of reforms coming from the Basic Education Financing Task Force…


Open Letter to Teachers about HB 1410

I’ve had a lot of questions from teachers on HB 1410 that seem to indicate some misunderstanding of our intent and I believe a misreading of the bill. 1410 is a serious attempt to address school funding inadequacies and the structural problems that have built up over 30 years since…


Seat Belts in School Buses

I reacted the same way many of you did when I heard from my son about the Bellevue High School football team bus rolling over – I was horrified. We followed the news all afternoon via phone from the Tacoma dome where he was waiting to photograph the game. (Check…


Basic Education Funding Task Force

I’m a member of the Basic Education Financing Task Force (BEFTF,) a group appointed by the legislature and the governor to try to re-write how K-12 education is funded in Washington. This is the reason I originally ran for the legislature in 2002, and has been a very long term…