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Wash. Schools Superintendent Wants Public To Weigh In On Education Funding Priorities

Elaine Thompson
AP Photo
A kindergarten classroom at Campbell Hill Elementary in Renton, Wash.

In the past year, Washington lawmakers have made major changes to the way schools are funded to end the long-running McCleary lawsuit. But parents and school officials say the public education system still doesn’t have all that it needs.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Chris Reykdal will open a survey starting Wednesday to allow the public to give input on what he should ask for in his next budget proposal to the governor and the legislature.

Before the legislative session, the state superintendent submits a request for additional education dollars beyond the basic funding formulas already set by the state.

“The state already has baked in now the basic ed model, so we’re asking folks – is this the system that you’d have?” Reykdal said. “So they fund counselors, but is it enough? They fund class size (reductions), but is that enough? They fund mental health support, but is it enough?”

Lawmakers may be weary of education requests. But Reykdal said if the proposals are focused on improving student outcomes and are based on what the public wants, he thinks legislators will be receptive.

He said he plans to come back to the public for additional feedback in the summer before submitting the proposal to Gov. Jay Inslee in September.

In July 2017, Ashley Gross became KNKX's youth and education reporter after years of covering the business and labor beat. She joined the station in May 2012 and previously worked five years at WBEZ in Chicago, where she reported on business and the economy. Her work telling the human side of the mortgage crisis garnered awards from the Illinois Associated Press and the Chicago Headline Club. She's also reported for the Alaska Public Radio Network in Anchorage and for Bloomberg News in San Francisco.