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State superintendent gives his proposal for school funding

Donna Gordon Blankinship
Associated Press
Stephanie McCleary stands in a multi-age classroom in Chimacum School District. She sued the state of Washington for not fully paying for the education of its public school students.

The good news in this week's new Washington state revenue forecast has drawn the attention of everyone who wants some money for their department or program.

But in a statement put out by Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn, Dorn says the state Constitution and the Supreme Court give Washington only one choice: pay for education first.

"For the current budget, I’m simply asking that we put education first -- in accordance with the constitutional requirement -- and make no further cuts," says Dorn in the statement.

Dorn says the improved revenue forecast gives some weight behind his call for no more education cuts. And he thinks it's time to invest some new dollars in education.

In addition, Dorn listed how he would spend that money for next year:

  1. State funding for full-day kindergarten for all students (Estimated cost: $130 million)
  2. Lower class sizes in Grades K through 3 (Lowering classes to an average of 22 students: $120 million)
  3. Fully fund student transportation (Estimated cost: $110 million next year)
  4. Fund basic technology supplies, materials and operating costs ($50/student: $50 million)

Recently, the McCleary vs. State of Washington court case found that the State of Washington was not providing enough funds to support basic education.  As a result, the state legislature must make "real and measurable progress" towards determining what basic education costs and how to fund it.


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