State lawmakers worked largely behind the scenes this week to craft a final resolution to the landmark McCleary school-funding case.
It’s been relatively quiet on the McCleary front in Olympia this week. State lawmakers continued to work largely behind the scenes to craft a final resolution to the landmark school-funding case.
But Feb. 17 marks the first legislative deadline in this year’s session, meaning most policy bills will die if they don’t make it out of committee.
Here’s a roundup of the McCleary action over the past week:
On Monday, the House appropriations committee held a nearly three-hour hearing on competing plans from Democrats and Republicans. Melissa Santos of the News Tribune penned a comprehensive comparison of each party’s priorities.
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Parents, teachers and school administrators testified for and against both proposals, while Chris Reykdal, the state’s new superintendent of public instruction (and former Democratic state lawmaker), also weighed in on the debate.
Right- and left-leaning think tanks have offered their appraisals of the McCleary plans as well: The Washington State Budget & Policy Center doesn’t like the Republican proposal, while the similarly named Washington Policy Center does.
Also Monday, The Seattle Times explained how the tangled history of teacher pay in Washington schools has slowed down a solution to McCleary.
And Capitol reporter Joseph O’Sullivan on Thursday released details of a new analysis that found the GOP plan would increase funding to every school district in the state.
“But it would come at a hefty price tag to Seattle,” O’Sullivan wrote.
The plan, he explained, would leave Seattle homeowners with nearly half of the bill to pay for more than $500 million in property-tax increases in 2019.
News of the analysis broke the same day that Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee met with media outlets to criticize the Republican plan, which he described as “not the fairest.”
The House appropriations committee met again Thursday for an executive session and voted to approve the McCleary bill from House Democrats.
After the policy cutoff next week, work will begin in earnest to hammer out specific budget bills to decide exactly how much Washington will spend, and on what, to finally settle McCleary.